our monthly residency
The Joe Belmont Experience, with special guest Evelyn Harris
Sun · February 4, 2018
Doors: 5:30 pm / Show: 6:00 pmHawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
The Joe Belmont Experience is comprised of accomplished veterans of the Northeast music scene Joe Belmont (guitars), Rudi Weeks (bass) and Eliezar Martinez (drums). They play a compelling yet cohesive blend of divergent elements of jazz, original compositions, funk, classic songs, Chicago blues, and jamming.
Evelyn Harris will be our special guest on vocals! The theme will be "The Great American Songbook." The great jazz songs from the back in the day.https://hawksandreed.ticketfly.com/event/1610956/
The Joe Belmont Experience is comprised of accomplished veterans of the Northeast music scene Joe Belmont, Rudi Weeks and Eliezar Martinez. They play a compelling yet cohesive blend of divergent elements of jazz, original compositions, funk, classic songs, Chicago blues, and jamming.
Over the course of her eighteen-year stint in the internationally-acclaimed Sweet Honey in the Rock, she not only acted as a singer and member of the group, but her experience informed her growth as a composer and arranger. Harris also co-produced nine of the ensemble’s albums. In 1988, one of Harris’ original compositions, “State of Emergency,” from the group’s album Live at Carnegie Hall, was nominated for a Grammy Award. The powerful song speaks to the urgency of ending the apartheid in South Africa, a system of racial segregation that ultimately ended in 1994 with the advent of general democratic elections.
Following her retirement from Sweet Honey, Harris decided to step out on her own as a solo performer. “It’s very different from being in a group,” says Harris, “You have to balance your time between craft and business.” Harris’ multiple roles in multiple capacities during her time in Sweet Honey and the Rock have clearly contributed to her success as a solo performer; she now performs around the Pioneer Valley at various venues, sometimes a cappella, sometimes with a trio, usually showcasing her jazz repertoire. Harris certainly hasn’t shirked her commitment to continuing to develop her own musicality, though, as an individual artist: “I’ve gotten better, hopefully, since I left [Sweet Honey in the Rock],” she jokes. “I still study with a voice coach.”
Now, Harris devotes much of her time to coaching others as well, currently the Director of the Ku’umba Women’s Choir through the Northampton Community Music Center. The word “ku’umba” is a Swahili word that means “to create.” Harris’ view of her music is that of wonder and discovery, and notes her commitment to giving back: “Singing is my giving back with thanks and praise,” she notes. She draws on a variety of different styles as a solo performer, including jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, African-American song styles and gospel, never forgetting her roots but always building upon them.
Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
289 Main St
Greenfield, MA, 01301