COEXIST Winard Harper

PR / Publicity, Projects
About This Project

Winard Harper began playing drums at age five—by seven, he was playing in his brother Danny’s R&B combo. That aside, Winard Harper honed his craft accompanying Dexter Gordon (at the tender age of 20), James Clay, Houston Person, Mark Murphy, and Betty Carter, the latter for a four-year tenure. Harper brings the sum total of these experiences—and more—to his latest venture, the band he has dubbed the Jeli Posse. Jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is another name for griot, a mobile/wandering combination of storyteller, historian, poet, and musician. (One could consider them the African counterpart to the bards of the British Isles.) Winard sees this band as an extension of that tradition: “Jazz has always been social commentary and expression,” he says. Coexist embodies the role of the jeli—history, storytelling, poetry, and musicianship practically jump out of the speakers (or earphones, for the ipod generation). The very concept of Coexist also relates to the performers. “[The Jeli Posse] represent different ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds transcending differences for a common cause.”


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