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Modern jazz wizard Donald Harrison returns on 10th anniversary of his first NPR broadcast, for First Night Boston and WGBH
(Published: December 19, 2013)

First Night Boston, Berklee College of Music, and 89.7 WGBH present the Donald Harrison Quintet, performing at the Berklee Performance Center on New Year's Eve, Tuesday, December 31, kicking off NPR's annual worldwide jazz broadcast, Toast of the Nation. The concert is a centerpiece of this year's First Night Boston festival, and marks the tenth anniversary of Harrison’s first NPR Toast of the Nation concert broadcast, live from Berklee.

Admission is $10 by purchase of a First Night button. The Donald Harrison Quintet performs at 8:45 p.m. (NPR broadcast, and nprmusic.org, at 9:00 Eastern). Eric Jackson, host of WGBH’s Eric in the Evening will be the Boston broadcast’s master of ceremonies. 1981 Berklee alumnus Harrison’s performance will be re-aired on NPR later that evening for listeners who missed the first broadcast.

A New Orleans born traditionalist, modern jazz trendsetter, former Jazz Messenger, nurturer of young talent, Afro-New Orleans culture Big Chief, Berklee alumnus, composer, bandleader and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison ’81 is a complete musician and entertainer. A kind of Crescent City renaissance man, Harrison has made sounds as diverse as Nouveau Swing, traditional jazz, hip-hop, Mardi Gras, and even classical music, his very own. He has composed a film score for Jonathan Demme (Rachel’s Getting Married), appeared in and consulted on HBO’s Tremé, co-led a group with Terence Blanchard, and performed with a musical who’s who that includes Art Blakey, Dr. John, Digable Planets, Roy Haynes, Lena Horne, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Miles Davis, and Spike Lee, to name just a few. Harrison is the director of The Tipitina’s Intern Program and an artist in residence at Tulane University. His most recent recordings are This Is Jazz: Live at the Blue Note, with Billy Cobham and Ron Carter, and New Orleans Gumbo, with Dr. John. Joining Harrison on New Year’s Eve will be his longtime band mates Detroit Brooks, guitar; Zaccai Curtis, piano; Max Moran ‘10, bass; and Joe Dyson ‘11, drums.

The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. Please call 617-747-2261 for more information.

New Year's Eve 2013 marks the tenth consecutive year that Berklee, 89.7 WGBH, and NPR have collaborated to kick-off the live-jazz-based holiday celebration Toast of the Nation. It is the sixth year that First Night Boston has been a partner as well. Heard on more than 200 NPR affiliate stations, NPR Worldwide, NPRmusic.org, and Sirius XM Radio, Toast of the Nation begins in Boston and will move across the country, with the Wynton Marsalis Septet live from Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and performances for each time zone, from east to west, as the night moves on.

For a full schedule of performances, and to find local participating NPR stations, please visit wbgo.org/toast. The concert can be heard in the Boston area on 89.7 WGBH FM, and wgbh.org.
It will also be audio archived after the fact on NPRmusic.org. Toast of the Nation is produced for NPR by WBGO-FM, Newark; Becca Pulliam senior producer; WGBH Radio produces the Boston portion of the broadcast; Gary Mott is executive producer for WGBH.


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