Winard Harper was born Hiram Winard Harper on June 4, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland and started beating on cans at age three and his natural affinity was encouraged by his father. By age five he was making guest nightclub appearances with his older brother Danny’s band. It was his hearing of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach recording that sealed his inspiration to play jazz.
Harper’s first major gig was in 1982 with Dexter Gordon, followed by Johnny Griffin and then spent four years with Betty Carter. It was with the later that he learned much about the music business, preparing him to be a bandleader and giving him the inside track on bookings. This experience gave him the foundation to launch The Harper Brothers along with his brother Philip, and a few of the hottest young talents of the Nineties – Justin Robinson, Javon Jackson, Walter Blanding, Kioshi Kitagawa, Stephen Scott, Kevin Hayes, Michael Bowie and Nedra Wheeler.
The Harper Brothers recorded four albums prior to the dissolution of the band and Winard went on to record seven albums to date as a leader. He has played the sideman to Avery Sharpe, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pharoah Sanders, Clifford Jordan, Steve Turre, Joe Lovano, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath and Wycliffe Gordon. Since the turn of the century the drummer, composer and bandleader continues to perform, tour and record with his own sextet.
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