1960 Fender Telecaster

This is one of the most magnificent guitars ever made. The bridge pick up is warm and full enough for any kind of jazz, while the neck pick up screams bloody murder when you step on it. It is tremendously beat up, looking like it was left in a barn for 12 years. I had Flip Scipio refret it. This Telly is simple, direct, subtle if need be yet warlike too. I have used it on bar gigs for Blues and Country for which it has no parallel. I also did some slide work on Passing Train, trying to give it a pedal steel sound. I’ve used it for solo jazz pieces. What I can’t really do on it is play with the type of facility that I have on a Gibson. The shape of the neck, and the scale make it a little harder for me to get around, so it is left at home for a lot of hard core jazz gigs. I grew up in Washington D.C. with Danny Gatton as a huge influence. Everytime I pick up my Telly I think of him.

First Blog!


This is my first blog! My first issue is this- I welcome anybody’s success stories vis a vis their usage of blogs, facebook, myspace, etc. I am told, by wise people, that these platforms, and all the time they take away from other pursuits, will help my career. While I am sure that some have found these virtual community-builders useful, I personally find them a little ridiculous, so far. I know what actual community feels like, and it is physical, having nothing to do with staring at a screen. The possible exception is myspace, where people can at least listen to my music, which is a good thing. (more…)

Reviews of The Wheel

Guitarist Joel Harrison has been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) forging a path of adventure in modern music. Not necessarily content with arbitrary categories, he is discovering ways to utilize all the different musical streams of the world. He has used jazz improvisation as a starting point but it’s never the be-all-end-all, the kind of thing that draws more attention to technique than to storytelling. His musicianship and that of his cohorts is always of the virtuoso variety but what you come away with is something much more. (more…)

Jazz Guitarist, Joel Harrison Debuts His String Quartet Piece in Mahattan Concert

On June 19, Intuition Records and Innova Records present a unique concert to debut the CD release of Joel Harrison’s, The Wheel. The concert will take place at the Cornelia St Café on June 19, 2008 with two shows, at 8:30pm and 10pm. The music is a union of jazz and classical string quartet with Harrison on guitar accompanied by Miguel Zenon (sax), Jeff Hermanson (trumpet), Chris Howes (violin), Jakub Trasak (violin), Tanya Kalmanovich (viola), Wendy Sutter (Cello), Lindsey Horner (bass), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). (more…)

Introduction to Harbor from Bill Milkowski

A restlessly creative spirit, Joel Harrison has thrown himself headlong into half a dozen challenging and wildly disparate projects since moving to New York from the Bay Area in 1999. “I have far-ranging interests and I have a voracious musical appetite,” explains the prolific guitarist-composer-arranger. “And I work fairly quickly once I get going on an idea.” (more…)

All About Jazz Reviews 'Harrison on Harrison'

By John Kelman

“For Harrison on Harrison the guitarist/vocalist pays tribute to the late Beatle George Harrison, proving that nothing is immutable, and that even songs from the collective subconscious are completely malleable and capable of inspiring all manner of reshaping. (more…)

Free Country II with David Binney

This is Joel Harrison’s second CD on the ACT label, a followup to his hugely successful Free Country release of 2003. Once again Harrison travels along the seams of Jazz, Country, Blues, and Spirituals, using country classics, hymns, and folk tunes as a gateway to creative music making. Harrison has included his own compositions on this release, side by side with gems by Merle Haggard, Jimmy Webb, the Stanley Brothers, as well as timeless traditional tunes. Harrison’s singular arranging style and the improvisational talents of his band create a dramatic atmosphere full of compositional surprises, gorgeous, moody textures, explosive soloing and quiet, intimate detail. (more…)

Reviews of Free Country One and Two

“Harrison suggests the music of the future.”
– Irish Times

“The most singular vision you are likely to encounter all year.”
– London Times

“Guitarist-singer Harrison describes his music as a trip “along the seams of jazz, country, blues and spirituals, using country classics, hymns and folk tunes as a gateway to creative music-making.” That’s an ambitious task, but he brings it off, with considerable help from saxophonist David Binney, in a collection filled with surprising, but utterly convincing, shifts of musical emphasis. Harrison is on to something both innovative and compelling, and he deserves a much wider hearing.” (more…)