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Eddie Harris: At the Club

Archival interview with the saxophonist from 1979

Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris

I was working the overnight shift at a short-lived St. Paul jazz station in 1979 (KTWN FM), a radio gig which had opened the door for some writing opportunities. I went to review a club date by saxophonist Eddie Harris, who was playing a small bar in Minneapolis. I really didn’t know Harris’ music well, just a track here and there. I liked the radical nature of “Compared to What” and I knew several versions of his “Freedom Jazz Dance,” but I’m not sure I connected the tune with Harris.

I had arranged for an interview and upon arrival was shown to a dreary cellar. Harris was fighting a bad cold that night and, as I look back on it now, I am surprised that he even talked to me, much less showed me as much modified kindness as he mustered. He was scheduled for two shows but, because of the harsh weather, openly wondered if there would much of a crowd at either. We sat at a rickety wooden table; he blew his nose a lot; the room was dim and damp.

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