Aspiring musicians will have the opportunity to study with New Orleans cultural and musical icon Donald Harrison Jr., who has joined the Newcomb Music Department at Tulane University as an artist-in-residence. A world-renowned jazz saxophonist, Harrison will teach six master classes each semester and lead the Trombone Shorty Academy.
World-renowned jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr. guides young musicians auditioning for the Trombone Shorty Academy in Dixon Hall on the uptown campus. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)
“To bring my experiences to a new set of students is always exciting,” says Harrison, who directs the intern program at Tipitina’s, where Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews was one of his first students.
Harrison mastered his art by performing with jazz greats including Art Blakey, Lena Horne and Miles Davis, and he is notable for his commitment to mentoring younger musicians, says Joel Dinerstein, director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South
The artist-in-residence position is sponsored by Music Rising
, a charitable foundation started by U2 guitarist the Edge, famed rock producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar chair and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. Another sponsor is the Trombone Shorty Foundation, which partners with the Gulf South Center to teach music to New Orleans students in the Trombone Shorty Academy.
Harrison is chief of the Congo Square Nation, a New Orleans cultural group, and has appeared as himself in the HBO series “Tremé.” His innovative musical style melds swinging modern jazz with hip-hop, soul, R&B and New Orleans funk.
“He’s highly respected all over the world,” says Karen Celestan, senior program manager of the Music Rising initiative.
Appointing Harrison as a guest artist underscores the university’s vision of bringing New Orleans and Gulf South culture to a worldwide audience, says Carole Haber, dean of the Tulane School of Liberal Arts.
Teaching young performers about New Orleans musical traditions is about more than music but also about the discipline that comes from striving for greatness, Harrison says. “Even if I only help one student, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.”
Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.