“A genius.” – Maestro Eddie Palmieri

“Donald Harrison is my GOAT.”- Christian aTunde Ajuah

“One of the greatest teachers in the last fifty years.”- Jonathan Batiste

“Genius.”- Nicholas Payton

” A master.”- Jon Benitez

Big Chief Donald Harrison is a master alto saxophonist who carries the musical spirit of his birthplace, New Orleans, wherever he goes – he’s a one man jazz festival. Donald, who was made an NEA Jazz Master in 2022, is known for his hard-swinging improvisational style and the creation of “Nouveau Swing,” a blend of jazz with R&B, hip-hop, rock, and soul. His performances travel through every era of jazz and he is a true champion of culture, well-known for mentoring the next generation of players.

Harrison honed his experience playing with Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, Eddie Palmieri, Dr. John, Lena Horne, McCoy Tyner, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Miles Davis, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Chuck Loeb, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Digable Planets, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, The Headhunters, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Notorious BIG. He has performed with over 200 jazz masters and created three influential styles of jazz. At the age of nineteen, Harrison created a modern jazz take on the New Orleans second-line tradition and introduced his composition New York Second-Line to the jazz world in 1979. By the mid-’80s, he created Nouveau Swing, a distinctive sound that blended the swing beat of modern jazz with hip-hop, funk, and soul music. In the ’90s, Harrison recorded hits in the smooth jazz genre. He began exploring music through the lens of quantum physics in 2000. With quantum jazz, Harrison heard how to move music from a two-dimensional state into a four-dimensional state. Harrison has been a mentor to artist as diverse as The Notorious Big, Jonathon Batiste, Christian Scott, Trombone Shorty, and Esperanza Spaulding.