The Three Sounds, led by pianist Gene Harris, was one of the preeminent soul and jazz piano trios from the mid-’50s through the 1960s. In its heyday, The Three Sounds was one of the top-selling jazz acts in the world with a string of hit records on Blue Note Records between 1958 and 1962; indeed, during that period, no other Blue Note act sold as many records as The Three Sounds. After they left Blue Note, The Three Sounds also made a number of acclaimed, top-selling albums for Verve, Mercury, Limelight and other labels.
In addition to The Three Sounds’ own immensely successful albums recorded over the course of their 15 years together, Harris and his mates also collaborated on recordings with many of the foremost figures in jazz of the era such as Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Griffin, Anita O’Day, Lou Donaldson and others. The Three Sounds collective recorded catalogue occupies an important place in the history of recorded jazz.
As a jazz pianist, Gene Harris was not only popular with fans, he was an important influence on a generation of pianists who followed him, such as Monty Alexander, Benny Green and many others. He had monumental technique, but that technique was always put in the service of deep feeling and groove. Monty Alexander notes, “His touch on the piano was crystal clear, immediately bringing up the feeling of blues as well as that cross between church and blues. He was greasy! He brought up soulful emotions.” Harris’s ever-present groove explains why the Three Sounds have remained relevant into the hip-hop era; a sample of their “Put On Train” was prominently featured in the Beastie Boys song, “What Comes Around” from their album, Paul’s Boutique.
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