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Barry Harris: Young-Hearted Elder

Barry Harris
Barry Harris (photo: John Abbott)

Barry Harris is at home seated at his Steinway piano working on a tune.

“I’m trying to put words to a tune that Bird wrote called ‘Bird Feathers,'” he explains to an early-morning caller. “Call me back in half an hour.” The breathtaking view out the expansive window of his Weehawken, New Jersey pad—formerly owned by the late Baroness Nica von Koenigswarter and once dubbed “Catville” by Thelonious Monk for its overabundance of feline inhabitants—overlooks the majestic midtown Manhattan skyline. (It’s pictured on the cover of Harris’ recent Evidence release, First Time Ever, a sublime trio outing with bassist George Mraz and drummer Leroy Williams.) And on this crisp Sunday morning in autumn the city sparkles like a thousand jewels across the Hudson River.

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