JAZZ AT ONE: Winard Harper

A virtuoso on the drum set and the balafon, the West African equivalent of the marimba, Winard is a sought-after collaborator at home and abroad, a bandleader of several groups, a regular at the New York clubs, an educator, and an event organizer.
Winard Harper

Winard Harper & Jeli Posse

Winard Harper was born in Baltimore in 1962 and started like most drummers by beating on cans just after learning to walk. A child prodigy, a five-year-old Winard would sometimes sit in and play his drums in older brother Danny’s rock n roll band after the family moved to Washington D.C. Winard and his younger brother Philip, a trumpeter, would busk in the streets of Georgetown and sit in at jam sessions around the city. For more than a year, Winard worked in a trio with pianist Reuben Brown and bassist Steve Novosel, veterans of the DC jazz scene.

Winard worked as a sideman for a virtual who’s who of jazz including Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pharoah Sanders and Clifford Jordan. In addition, he co-led the band The Harper Brothers, who went on to release four acclaimed albums on PolyGram. In the early ‘90s, inspired by mentors like Dr. Billy Taylor and Billy Higgins, he recorded several albums featuring collaborations with jazz greats, while also building a strong sextet.


As part of Trinity Church Wall Street’s commitment to jazz, a uniquely American art form and uniting voice for our collective story and experience, Trinity presents Jazz at One in collaboration with JAZZ HOUSE KiDS. Jazz at One is a part of Trinity’s renowned Concerts at One series and is curated by our very own Ted Chubb. Through access, learning, career development, and community building, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS cultivates tomorrow’s global citizens so they may build vibrant communities.