“My first memorable experience with performing came from my early days spent in the alto section of the young adult choir in my grandfather’s North Carolina church,” writes the vocalist Lezlie Harrison:
It was from there, in the front row directly behind the pulpit, that I witnessed the effect that the choir’s selections and the preacher’s sermon, had on the congregation. As an ensemble, we were able to stir souls, ease whatever troubles may lay heavy on the mind. As performers, we possessed the power to move the audience to “get happy”, do the “holy dance”, cry, shout and release. I loved that. That’s what I wanted to do.
Singers, like preachers, are storytellers. We are responsible for giving our audience, a true and deeply heartfelt experience in hopes of lifting someone’s spirit.
The vocalist also received early guidance from some of the idom’s most legendary practitioners: Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn and Betty Carter. Since returning to New York, Lezlie has been featured on stages alongside artists such as Roy Hargrove, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Grady Tate. She has also performed internationally with her own groups. Roy Hargrove declares, “Lezlie always brings such warmth to the bandstand whenever she sings; I always feel at home whenever I play with her. Her voice and her personality are large and strikingly dramatic. She is a true performer.”
Many of you have known Lezlie as an integral part of The Jazz Gallery right from its beginning. She was instrumental in getting us off the ground and helped carry us through for many years. Most importantly, she graced our stage at numerous special events – often with Roy Hargrove. We are delighted to have her warm our hearts with her voice and soul this Thursday for our very first Jazz Gallery Valentine’s Day in our new home! What could be better?
The tagline for the performance, according to Facebook, is, “It’s all about love, or lack thereof!”