Lafayette Harris, Jr. | In The Middle Of The Night

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Jazz: Smooth Jazz Latin: Brazilian Jazz Moods: Type: Soundtrack
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In The Middle Of The Night

by Lafayette Harris, Jr.

...contemporary jazz music in the truest sense. Jazz is the overwhelming theme, but the delivery is sophisticated and catchy, with pop and R&B sensibilities. -Brian Soergel
Genre: Jazz: Smooth Jazz
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1. In the Middle of the Night
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3:37 $0.99
2. Saturday
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4:25 $0.99
3. Carmella
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4:51 $0.99
4. Darlin' Darlin' Baby
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4:01 $0.99
5. Honeylike
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4:45 $0.99
6. The Milky Way
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5:34 $0.99
7. ¡Vamonos!
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6:03 $0.99
8. The Work Song
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3:37 $0.99
9. Those Memories
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5:06 $0.99
10. Athens
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5:04 $0.99
11. A Little Feel Thing
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
BIO

Lafayette Harris’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Known as the “go to” pianist by other musicians and band leaders, in the last year alone, Lafayette has played the Burghausen Jazz Fest in Bavaria, toured Europe and America with Ernestine Anderson, played the wedding for the daughter of ABC “World News Tonight” host, Charlie Gibson and released his 6th CD: TRIO TALK. Alongside these have been Lafayette’s regular appearances at New York’s Blue Note, Dizzy’s Coca Cola, The Iridium and a weekly open mic session that he hosts at the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem, widely regarded as the “best vocal jam session” in the city by New York’s weekly listing guides.

However, before the A-list musician lifestyle, Lafayette’s formative years were spent in Baltimore, laying the foundation to his craft at church and in private tutelage. By the time he hit his teens Lafayette was a regular on the local Top 40 scene, playing in bands that covered all the classic R&B and funk of the day by acts such as the Ohio Players, Parliament/Funkadelic, the Gap Band and more. However, Lafayette’s heart was very much rooted in jazz and his real hero was fellow Baltimore native Eubie Blake. After hearing Blake play Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” Lafayette was determined to perfect it. He augmented his live work with hard study, receiving a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and then going on to study with master pianist Kenny Barron at Rutgers University in NJ, where he earned a Masters in Jazz Performance.

Moving to New York in the mid 80’s Lafayette was swept into the intense musical whirlpool that was the Big Apple live scene at that time. Working in well-established clubs like the Blue Note, Sweet Basil, and Fat Tuesday’s, the young musician soon garnered a reputation for himself as a name to watch. That reputation earned Lafayette a record deal with Muse Records, resulting in his debut album, aptly titled “Lafayette Is Here,” featuring then young lions, Terell Stafford (trumpet), Don Braden (tenor saxophone) and rhythm section-mates Lonnie Plaxico (bass) and Cindy Blackman (drums). A second Muse recording, “Happy Together,” starred The Lafayette Harris Trio plus Melba Moore.

By the early 90’s Lafayette had also become a regular on the European jazz festival circuit, playing alongside the likes of trombonists Slide Hampton and John Gordon and the vocalist Barbara Morrison. Also during this period his former teacher Kenny Barron referred him to master drummer Max Roach. This new relationship resulted in almost 10 years of touring and collaborating with the legendary drummer, prompting him to describe Lafayette as a “phenomenal new voice on the music scene today.”

The mid-90’s saw Lafayette take on his next challenge – Broadway. His breakthrough gig was as a conductor and keyboardist for the smash hit “Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk.” Says Lafayette of the experience: “You think a lot about listening peripherally. Not only are you hearing yourself but also you hear a sock cymbal three feet behind you, or a singer taking a breath all the way on the other side of the stage. You have to listen more acutely because everything is spread out.” Harris has since been involved with more Broadway shows including “The Full Monty,” “Ride Down Mt. Morgan,” “Kat And The Kings,” and most recently “The Color Purple.”

During the “Bring In 'Da Noise…” period, Lafayette was invited to play at a fundraiser for underprivileged children at the home of the late news anchor, Peter Jennings. The band comprised Illinois Jacquet, Percy Heath, Max Roach and Wynton Marsalis. Lafayette’s debut release on his own label, Airmen Records, “Lafayette Is Here…Solo” was voted one of the best recordings of 1998 by Cadence Magazine.

By the new millennium Lafayette was recruited by guitarist Mark Whitfield to form the group Soul Conversation for Herbie Hancock’s label. Other names Lafayette has played with in recent years include R&B/Broadway diva and Grammy winner Jennifer Holliday, jazz legend Billy Taylor and multiple Grammy winner Chaka Khan.

Says Lafayette with trademark modesty of his long, illustrious career:

“For me it’s definitely great to do something you love and make a living at it. To be able to have a family and a roof over my head because of my success in music is a blessing. If I can keep contributing to the world’s musical sound palette I’ll be satisfied as a musician. When I look at the successes of past and present greats from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock and others, I am amazed at their ability to continue being creative and significant and I’m instantly inspired.”


Reviews


to write a review

Myoshi Marilla (Host of the BET J List)

This is smooth jazz at it's best!
The new cd by Lafayette Harris, Jr.: In the Middle of the Night, is smooth jazz at it's best! I immediately started bopping my head the moment the title track started playing.


It seems like there's a soundtrack for whatever mood. Some of my faves are "Darlin' Darlin' Baby" (Mike Hammond's vocal arrangement is amazing). "Honeylike" is a sexy song! Lafayette is doing some serious work on "The Work Song". It left me wanting more of his incredible piano solos. I think my absolute favorite is "Vamonos!" I don't dance the salsa but it made me want to "go" out and take some lessons. What a fun song!


This latest effort by Lafayette Harris, Jr. shows that he is a master at his craft. I can't wait to hear what he creates next!

Brian Soergel


Currents
from the June 2007 issue


LAFAYETTE HARRIS, JR.
In the Middle of the Night (Airmen)


There’s a lot to like on Lafayette Harris Jr.’s svelte new CD: contemporary jazz music in the truest sense. Jazz is the overwhelming theme, but the delivery is sophisticated and catchy, with pop and R&B sensibilities. Harris, a native of Baltimore who now lives and performs regularly in New York City, packs more punch on his 11 songs that you might find on a smoother effort while at the same time wrapping it all up in accessible melodies and rhythms.
Only on Nat Adderley’s “The Work Song” does Harris show off on the 88s. There’s no denying his playing is impressive, made even more so because it’s displayed so infrequently. Instead, Harris has made a band record where he handed over the bulk of the playing, for example, to trumpeter Terell Stafford on the neo-soulish “Saturday” and to saxophonist Donald Harrison on the samba rhythms of “Carmella.” Balancing those instrumental efforts are the male vocal lead of Mike Hammond on the title track and the breathy female chops of Alyson Williams on “The Milky Way.” Then Harris comes back with the funk-heavy “Athens” and the sweet pop of “Honeylike.” The latter, with its hip-hop synth bursts and tight groove, is as tasty as the best Fourplay.

-Brian Soergel

Kelli Buckingham

Good music lovers will add this one to their collection!!!
This is jazz with an urban touch that you will find yourself bobbing your head to. I listened to it at work and found myself humming the melodies as I worked and feeling good. There's something on the album for everyone so do yourself a favor and buy it.

Tracy Thomas

Urban jazz at it's best!
Urban jazz at's best is what In the middle of the night is all about.This cd has something for all jazz lovers from urban instumentation to grooving along to r&b featured on track #1.Awsome project a must have for all jazz lovers!