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Jazz Vocalist Allan Harris Announces The Launch of the Cross That River Experience on ArtistShare: Jazz Meets Country
Jazz vocalist Allan Harris has recently completed the first ten songs in a musical trilogy entitled Cross That River." It features songs he's written that are at times poignant reflections on life as a slave and other times joyful expressions of freedom and compassion. Harris takes his listeners on a musical journey where we encounter a group of free African American characters during the 1850s. The recording is a hotbed of American musical genres from Jazz to Country, and has been referred to as The Soulful Side of the West" (Derek Gordon, Jazz at Lincoln Center). Why do so many African Americans feel disenfranchised in this nation of plenty?" Harris asks. The answer is a complex one but, being a person of color, I feel that part of the problem lies in the negative portrayal of our culture in America's history both written and visual. I want the music I'm writing to be a source of pride for all Americans because for far too long the true story has been hidden." Cross That River" makes its debut at the Kennedy Center on March 25th. as part of Country Music Week and this month the new website was launched on ArtistShare.
ArtistShare: ArtistShare's patent pending process allows artists to fund new projects and grow their fan base by sharing the experience of their creation with their audience. Through ArtistShare, artists retain complete artistic and financial control of their work while developing long lasting personal relationships with their fans. In looking for an outlet to release Cross That River," Harris contacted Brian Camelio at ArtistShare and together they developed a new site for the Cross That River Experience. Harris says, The site is an exciting move for me because ArtistShare enables me to maintain control of my own project, something very few musicians could do in the past. Now friends and fans can be involved in my journey to create the music for two more recordings, finish the novel and develop the musical, all on-line. There are nine different levels of participation, designed to offer everyone an opportunity to participate in the Experience, from the Download Participant level at $18.95 on up to the Executive Producer level at $15,000." The first CD will be released in February 2006.
Background: Four years ago, on a trip to Aspen, Colorado, Harris heard Dolly Parton's CD Little Sparrow" on the radio and loved her Bluegrass version of Cole Porter's tune I Get A Kick Out of You." It became the catalyst for an idea that he had, to combine his love for the West, Jazz and finger-picking style Bluegrass, into a project that would tell the history of the African American West. My passion has always been about music and horses. I learned to ride when I was a kid on my Grandfather's farm in Western Pennsylvania, and I spent my childhood riding all day every day. I also loved Western movies, and I kept looking for a person of color in them. I knew they existed, they were friends of my Grandfathers, but Hollywood hardly ever portrayed them. I occasionally got a glimpse of actors like Woody Strode or Herb Jeffries but they were rare. I knew there were other kids like me out there who felt alienated by this fictionalized version of the American West. After all, 40% of cowboys were men of color, African Americans, Mexicans and Native Americans, and the term cowboy comes from slaves tending cattle."
Last Tuesday, Harris debuted the title song from Cross That River at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall where it was enthusiastically received. It has been performed as a work-in-progress at Joe’s Pub, BB Kings, WestFest, and as a special feature for the San Angelo, Texas Cultural Affairs Department which is the original home of the Buffalo Soldier.
For more information, or to request a press kit on this artist, please contact Pat Harris at 212 862 3301. www.allanharris.com
This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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