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Tommie Joe Harris


From a very early age, Tommie J. Harris has been closely connected to music. In his adolescent and teenage years he sang gospel, was a member of the Dunbar High School Marching and Concert Bands and was awarded first price at the statewide competition from  Alabama A & M College. His first Jazz combo was formed with members of the marching band.


After graduating from High School, Tommie moved to Detroit where he had the privilege to “sit in” with saxophonist Youssef Lateef. Lateef encouraged the aspiring musician to further his studies, which Tommie did in 1957-58 at Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia.


As drummer, lead vocalist and bandleader, Tommie founded many bands - among others “The Fabulous Dukes” from Charleston/South Carolina, 1962-64 and “The Fabulous Up-setters”, from Bitburg/Germany, 1964-71 -  and toured throughout Europe. From all the groups Tommie founded, the most famous one was was “Heatwave”, based in Heidelberg/Germany (1971-74), featuring Johnny Wilder Jr., as vocalist and Rod Temperton (composer and arranger of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” hit song) as organist. This successful group toured in West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, England and Spain.


1975 - 77, Tommie acted as musical director of the band "Total Eclipse and, over the next years, continued working as a freelance musician in several other formations. Between 1982-84, he taught percussion in the U.S. army in Heidelberg. In 1987, Tommie returned to his homeland where he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.


Tommie is a highly sought after musician - both as drummer and as singer - and he performs regularly in more than 12 international bands playing Jazz, Blues, RnB and Gospel. Since 2005 he has been leading the Tuesday Night Blues and RnB Session in the "Orange Peel" in Frankfurt am Main.