Rod Harris, Jr.

By Staff Writer

NASHVILLE, TN — Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia Rod Harris, Jr. grew up with a musical background. His father was a singer/songwriter in the 80s, but his love of jazz evolved in his senior year of high school when he received his first acoustic guitar. While he had never played the guitar before, he was insistent on mastering the instrument.  Since then, he studied Jazz at Georgia State, and received a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in jazz studies. Harris also spent time playing in Japan in 2006, carefully honing his fusion of hip-hop, R&B and jazz. 

2018 brought Harris acclaim with his Grammy nomination with Musiq Soulchild. He has since gone on to perform throughout the United States, all while continuing to fine-tune his musical style. He has also been seen performing in films like “Cadillac Records,” “Bessie” and season 2 of BET’s “American Soul.” 

Harris has had a significant output since he started, including his EP, Exits and Options in 2018, his full-length album “The Counsel of Elders” in 2016, and “THE 2U0 SES2I0NS: Celebrating The Music Of Jazz Piano Legends,” his pandemic-era record. His newest album, “Plays for Wayne” will be released on June 27. 

Recently, Harris did a masterclass at Florida State University and had the following advice for young people that were interested in jazz: “Don’t be ashamed of all your other musical influences.” He further noted that the jazz you choose to do can be infused with what you know whether that be salsa, trap, gospel or hip-hop. He encourages students to respect the past, but you don’t have to be a musical purist. Instead, experiment and find your groove. 

Harris will be doing that for the Nashville audience Saturday, June 17, 2023. His show will have selections from his new studio album, “Plays for Wayne,” a tribute to Wayne Shorter, an American saxophonist, as well as selections from “Exits and Options.” Harris mentioned you can enjoy his music whether you are a jazz traditionalist or someone that is into the more experimental side of jazz. His show will appeal to both groups. 

Tickets are available at Eventbrite. The show starts at 8 pm at Rudy’s Jazz Room at 809 Gleaves St. Nashville. If you want to check out Harris’s music, you can visit his website at rodharrisjr.com.