Benny Harris Day
April 23, 1919 – May 11, 1975
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Trumpeter and composer “Little” Benny Harris was born April 23, 1919 in New York City.
A self-taught trumpet player, he was already playing with Thelonious Monk as a teenager.
Harris was a major figure in early bebop and legend has it he convinced Dizzy Gillespie to give young Charlie Parker a hearing.
Next time you play or hear Charlie Parker’s theme song “Ornithology,” keep in mind Bennie Harris wrote it based on an improvised line by Parker.
His first professional gig of significance was in 1939 with Tiny Bradshaw followed by a four year stretch with Earl Hines’ band beginning in 1941.
Following his work with “Bird” he would never record again but was sill active on the New York jazz scene during the late 1950s.
He is responsible for writing and cop-writing a number of standards the most prominent of which are “Ornithology”, “Crazeology”, and “Reets and I.”