June 22, 2008


Jeanette Harris

Jeanette Bertha Harris, was born on March 9, 1979 in Fresno, California, to Floyd and Annette Harris. She showed an interest in music at an early age and by her 5th birthday she was playing the guitar in the church she attended. At age 6, she began taking piano lessons, and at age 9, during her 4th grade year, she started playing the saxophone. While other kids were spending their time playing video games and watching television, Jeanette could be found in her room practicing her saxophone.

Jeanette’s interest in music was supported and encouraged by her parents and her older brother Michael. Her father, Floyd Harris, Sr. plays the tuba and her brother, Michael, is a percussionist. In 1994, Jeanette, along with her father and her brother formed “The Harris Family Ragtime Band”. The band performed throughout California, from homeless shelters to big Dixieland festivals.

Jeanette was introduced to Latin Jazz while attending Roosevelt High School where she played the lead alto in the school’s Latin Jazz Band. She also played the piano in the Fresno City College Latin Jazz Band. During her high school years, she auditioned and was chosen to play in various honor bands, and while attending Bullard High School, she was the featured Saxophonist at one of Bullard’s appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Upon graduation from high school, Jeanette received a number of scholarships which enabled her to pursue her dream of attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

She continued to hone her skills on the saxophone while broadening her understanding of music. She was the lead Saxophonist in the Berklee College Female Big Band and played in various venues in Boston, New Hampshire, New York and Maine. She graduated from Berklee in 2001 with a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance. Jeanette’s love of music and musical performance did not diminish. After her graduation from Berklee, she returned home to Fresno, California to start a smooth jazz band with her brother Michael Harris. Getting started was not easy, she would go to local clubs and ask if she could play at no cost to the club, but was turned down repeatedly. The “No Thank You" responses did not discourage her. She became more determined than ever and continued to master her saxophone and develop her own sound.

Then one day, a gentleman named Lionel Hawkins called to ask her if she would play his cigar shop, “Smoke Affair”. She accepted the invitation and made the most of it. During this same time period, the brother-sister team, (which consisted of Jeanette on saxophone and Michael on percussions), decided to put together their own show on a small stage at a local pizza spot on Fresno’s Fulton Mall. Long lost friend Patrick Olvera (bass) decided to Venture back from Boston to reunite with the brother sister duo for this show. With the help of family members, this night was a major success. Local clubs started calling and the local smooth jazz radio station, KEZL 96.7, invited Jeanette and her band to play at the Riverbend Jazz Festival. The Jeanette Harris Band has played in a number of Jazz Festivals, including the “The Hollywood Park Jazz Festival”, “The Inglewood Jazz Festival”, “The San Diego Street Festival”, the “Riverbend Jazz Festival”, the “China Town Jazz Festival” and the “African Village Festival”.

She’s opened for and/or played with the following smooth jazz greats; The Rippingtons; Eric Marienthal; Kirk Whalum; Eloise Laws; Denise William; Phil Perry; Howard Huit; Andre Fischer; Everette Harp; Paul Jackson Jr.; Veretta Hathaway; Debra Laws; Najee; Michael Ward; and Will Barrow. She is currently playing at different spots across the country and hopes to add international venues to her schedule soon. Jeanette released her first CD, “Here and There” on the J&M Record label. Her second CD, “Jeanette Harris Live at Platinum Live” and her newest release, “Down Route 99”, are on the Sweet Music record label. If you like good music, you will enjoy these CD’s.


ELISE WOOD - a flutist who hails from Philadelphia, has appeared as featured soloist, band-leader and band-member with such notables as David Murray, Archie Shepp, Butch Morris and Arthur Blythe, Sir Roland Hanna, Spirit of Life Ensemble and most frequently with her partner of two decades, John Hicks. She has recorded for Mapleshade Records, Landmark Records, Evidence Records and the recently established record company with John Hicks, HiWood Records. International festivals and tours include Japan, Finland, Italy, France, and most recently Taiwan. Documentary films such as "Femme du Jazz" and books "Madame Jazz" as well as magazine articles in WindPlayer and Fa La Lut and Jazz Hot place Ms Wood in the cutting edge of this creative American art form, Jazz. With Mr. John Hicks was a further collaborative album called "Beautiful Friendship," a duet cd which is composed of standard love songs and was also released on their label HiWood. A further Sextet recording called "Sweet Love of Mine" (Highnote) with John Hicks was released in Jan. 2007 - the first album to be released in his memory.

For the last two years Ms. Wood has dedicated herself to memorializing the life and music of her late-husband/partner with creation of the John Hicks Legacy Band. This five- to six-piece band is composed largely of alumni of the John Hicks ensembles and plays exclusively the repertoire of John Hicks. A recording of his music as performed by the Legacy Band will soon be released on Highnote records.
Ms. Wood also works with Jazz Foundation of America in the Education program with children from the ages of 8 - 14. She is also and active member of the NY Jazz Flutet, a six flute jazz ensemble that includes an instrumentation from contra-bass flute to piccolo w/drums (to be featured in the National Flute Convention 2006).

The Star Ledger "With Elise's flute sound and the way Curtis (Lundy) works from the bass bottom, I … let them surround me with the sound…

"John Hicks, Zan Stewart The Washington Post"…best revealed with Hicks' well-known ballad, "Naima's Love Song" which fully integrates the sound of the trio, flute and string section creating a lovely weave of colors and texture and heartfelt emotion.
Mike Joyce The Washington Post "Hicks eloquently collaborating with flutist Elise Wood, who was largely responsible for a haunting alto flute reprise of Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark"
Amsterdam News "Wood overwhelmed the audience with her rendition of Billy Strayhorn's Star-Crossed Lovers and (Bobby) Watson's extraordinary tendering of the classic " Soul Eyes" provided one of the great performance highlights of the festival".- Clarence Atkins

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