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Jesse Harris Readies New Album 'Mineral'

November 23rd, 2005 1:25pm EST
Jesse HarrisOn February 21, 2006, Jesse Harris will release 'Mineral,' a strikingly elemental, intimate recording that heralds many firsts for the New York-based Grammy winner. Not only is it the debut release on his own independent label, Secret Sun Recordings, but after five albums with his beloved band The Ferdinandos, 'Mineral' marks Harris' first recording in a trio setting; backed by organ/piano master Larry Goldings (John Scofield, Maceo Parker, James Taylor), and long-time Harris collaborator Kenny Wollesen on drums, marimba and various percussion.

'Mineral' marks a stark departure from Harris' critically acclaimed 2004 release 'While The Music Lasts,' an album replete with string and horn charts, guest artists, and auxiliary studio musicians. Instead, 'Mineral' realizes Harris' ambitions to achieve a warmer, more ambient feel, while stripping away all but the essential elements of his songs. The album contains virtually no electric guitar or bass, leaving room for each instrument - whether it be an accordion flourish by Goldings, or a Wollesen marimba line - to breathe texture and character into Harris' songs. In another first, the album includes two quietly carnivalesque instrumental interludes, also penned by Harris.

Like many great turning point albums, 'Mineral' was inspired by a gig; a 2004 benefit concert for Sweet Relief at the Troubdour in Los Angeles, to be exact. Harris picks up the story, "Kenny and I flew out for the gig, but none of the other guys in [The Ferdinandos] were available. Larry Goldings used to be my next door neighbor in New York, and I thought it would be fun to play as an organ trio." The chemistry between the three was immediate, and soon after Harris, Goldings and Wollesen were ensconced in a Nassau, Bahamas studio with board wizard Terry Manning (Led Zeppelin, Big Star, Isaac Hayes, Lenny Kravitz etc...) engineering and mixing. 'Mineral' is literally a musical snapshot: an album by a band that had - and has to this day - only played one gig together.

In addition to his own recent recordings and live performances, Jesse Harris has written songs recently for Madeleine Peyroux, Lizz Wright and Tristan Prettyman and contributed guitar to the Bright Eyes album 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.' He is also known for writing several songs on Norah Jones' landmark debut album 'Come Away With Me,' including the hit single "Don't Know Why," for which he won a Grammy in 2003.


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