The Joe Belmont Experience w/ Evelyn Harris

our monthly residency

The Joe Belmont Experience w/ Evelyn Harris

Sun · June 3, 2018

Doors: 5:30 pm / Show: 6:00 pm

$10 advance - $15 day of show

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 returns as the JBE's special guest.

The Joe Belmont Experience
The Joe Belmont Experience
Joe Belmont has released two CDs of his own music, and produced and performed on numerous other recordings. He has played with world beat band Viva Quetzal for over 20 years, releasing three CDs and touring extensively. He plays with flutist Sarah Swersey in Duó Fusión, and they have released a CD. Joe teaches on the Performance Faculty at Amherst College, and as Director of Jazz at the Northampton Community Music Center. In 2013, he served as Music Director for the world premier of Grammy and Tony winners Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s play Arms on Fire. He is currently writing music and getting ready for the Joe Belmont Experience.

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.
Evelyn Harris
Evelyn Harris
Evelyn Harris hails from Richmond, Virginia, where she grew up in the church – the same place she started singing. “You started in church,” Harris remarks, and her musical style and her later ensemble collaborations reflect the gospel style. Harris went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., a historically black Institution, where she studied music, majoring in Voice. After her graduation, she joined the then newly-formed black women’s a cappella ensemble group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, performing with them for the first time in 1974.

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.
Venue Information:
Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
289 Main St
Greenfield, MA, 01301
https://www.hawksandreed.com/