Les Harris, Jr., Advisory Board Member
Les Harris, Jr. is a man who followed in his father’s footsteps. Both grew up in Newburyport. Both are drummers, and both studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Both became music educators. Either of them could have gone off to New York or Los Angeles and enjoyed great national fame but preferred to remain here on the Seacoast.
Growing up in a drumming family, Les, Jr. developed his skills early, and by the age of 12, he was accompanying his Dad on gigs and sitting in with the likes of Teddy Wilson, Dick Johnson, John LaPorta, Don Doane, and other jazz luminaries.
Already off to a good start, Les, Jr. headed to Berklee in the early ’80s, where he studied drums with Joe Hunt and Robert Kaufman, then, after graduating, with the legendary drummer and educator Alan Dawson. Soon after, he became the drummer with the jazz vocal group “The Ritz,” traveling and performing all over the world. Les, Jr. has also toured with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, which Dick Johnson directed for so many years, and with tenor saxophone great Scott Hamilton.
Now living in Exeter, New Hampshire, Les performs regularly with many of New England’s jazz artists and others beyond the region. He’s a regular member of the Paul Broadnax Quintet and of the New Guitar Summit with Gerry Beaudoin, Duke Robillard and Jay Geils. And he continues to play often on Sunday nights at The Press Room. He is also a music faculty member at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern Maine, and Phillips Exeter Academy, teaching drums and ensembles.