One of the top male jazz singers to emerge in the 1990s, Allan Harris sometimes sounds a bit like Nat King Cole but also puts his own personality into his spirited rendition of standards. He first recorded for his own Love Productions label and went on to record two sets for Mons: It's a Wonderful World (a sextet date with Benny Green, Mark Whitfield, and Claudio Roditi) and an ambitious effort on which he was backed by Germany's 54-piece Metropole Orchestra. In 2001, Harris paid tribute to longtime Duke Ellington scribe Billy Strayhorn with Love Came: The Songs of Strayhorn. He then moved away from jazz standards with 2006's Cross That River, a concept album about African-American cowboys. Harris was quite active in 2010, releasing three albums including Nat King Cole: Long Live the King, Dedicated to You: Nat King Cole Christmas, and his companion piece to Cross That River, Cry of the Thunderbird. In 2011, Harris released the R&B-infused Open Up Your Mind. You Bring Out the Best in Me followed in 2012, while his 2014 effort, Convergence, was recorded with pianist Takana Miyamoto. In 2015, Harris took home the Down Beat Critic's Poll Award for Rising Star Jazz Vocalist. That same year, he released the studio album Black Bar Jukebox, which featured a mix of standards, originals, and modern pop covers. ~ Scott Yanow
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