Les Harris Jr. is a 1983 graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is currently a music faculty member at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern Maine and Phillips Exeter Academy teaching drums and ensembles. Les is the son of retired Berklee College of Music professor and jazz drummer Les Harris Sr. who studied drums with George Lawrence Stone and was the house drummer at George Wein's Storyville Club in Boston during the late 50’s.
Les Harris Jr. began playing the drums at a young age under the tutelage of his father. He was sitting in with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy, Bob Wilber, Dave McKennna, John LaPorta, and Teddy Wilson by the time he was 14 and began playing professionally at the age of 15, working weekends with pianist/vocalist Annie Bosteels and her trio. While attending Berklee, Harris studied with Joe Hunt and Robert Kaufman and upon graduation, he studied extensively with legendary drummer and educator Alan Dawson. From 1983-1995, he was the drummer with the jazz vocal group The Ritz, appearing on seven recordings (five on the Denon label, two on Pausa). As a member of The Ritz, Les performed at The Sea Jazz Festival in Finland, The Blue Note Jazz Clubs in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Jakarta and NYC, The New Morning Club in Paris, George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival in Japan as well as engagements in Singapore, Italy, Germany, Morrocco, Vienna, and throughout the United States and Canada.
Les has toured with the Artie Shaw Orchestra (under the direction of Dick Johnson) and with tenor saxophone great Scott Hamilton, including performances with Scott at The Subway Club in Cologne and the Montreal Jazz Festival as well as with The New Guitar Summit with Gerry Beaudoin, Duke Robillard and Jay Geils.
Les was a longtime member of Seacoast Jazz great Tommy Gallant's Trio and has had the opportunity to play with some of the best known artists in jazz, including Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Annie Ross, Teddy Wilson, Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, Ray Brown, Marian McPartland, Jimmy Heath, Ken Peplowski, Al Grey, Marshall Royal, Buddy DeFranco, Bud Shank, Harry Allen, James Moody,Rufus Reid, Benny Green, Charlie Mariano, Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Diana Krall and Geoff Keezer.
Harris performs as a freelance musician with many of New England's top jazz artists and is a regular member of the Paul Broadnax Trio. Some of his latest recordings include Swingin’ For The Holidays w/The NH Jazz Orchestra; Shivers w/ Jay Geils, Duke Robillard, Gerry Beaudoin and Randy Bachman on the Stony Plain label; The Kings of Strings on the Arbors Record label with Aaron Weinstein, Gerry Beaudoin and Jay Geils; Friends and Live at Indian Hill Music with the Paul Broadnax Quintet; Sterling! with the Jim Howe Trio featuring Herb Pomeroy on the Invisible Music Label; Covering All My Basses with the Jim Howe Trio featuring Harry Allen; A Balance of Light and Holding the Center with the Mark Kleinhaut Trio featuring Bobby Watson on the Invisible Music Label; Trumpet 101 with Trent Austin; and True Colors with Wendee Glick, Eddie Higgins and Ken Peplowski.