Since moving to Minneapolis in 2005, Zacc Harris has gained a reputation as one of the area’s top guitarists, being named 2017 Twin Cities Best Jazz Artist by the City Pages. He performs in a number of creative projects including Atlantis Quartet, winner of the 2015 McKnight Fellowship, as well as the Zacc Harris Group, American Reverie, and Zacc Harris Trio.
Harris has toured as leader and sideman throughout the US and UK, including a 2016 run with Zacc Harris Group at London’s famed Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. Jazz Improv Magazine says, “Harris delivers a sound that is lucid, clear…providing rich-sounding accompaniment, and well-crafted solos” while Cadence Magazine calls some of Harris’ work with Atlantis Quartet “worthy of John McLaughlin.” MPR News states, “Harris makes his own mark on standards with enough new hooks to keep jazz alive.”
As co-leader of Atlantis Quartet, Harris has released five critically acclaimed albums since 2006, as well as a digital anthology of the band’s first decade together. Renowned jazz critic Bill Milkowski wrote for JazzTimes Magazine, “Twin Cities modern jazz renegades shift nimbly from a punk-jazz aesthetic to ECM-ish sensitivity…startlingly original stuff.”
In 2012, Harris released his first album as leader, THE GARDEN, on Shifting Paradigm Records. City Pages writer Rick Mason says, “The Garden showcases Harris’s compositions, which adeptly and compellingly link the past and future of jazz, and guitar work, which is consistently articulate with an enticing fluidity seemingly influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny.” The American Composers Forum chose Harris for one of its three Minnesota Emerging Composers Awards in 2016, to write and record a second album with this group, due out in September 2021.
In 2017, Harris released his second album as leader, a trio project called AMERICAN REVERIE on which he explored a range of nostalgic songs, from Americana classics to Bob Dylan, re-imagined with a jazz tilt. The album received high acclaim with the Star Tribune calling it “quietly resonant” and City Pages saying, “It’s a collection of smart contemporary jazz interpretations of folk standards…Harris’ eloquent guitar work highlights pointed commentary with a deft array of melodic abstractions, tempo shifts and harmonic changes.” All About Jazz wrote, “the arrangements are full of fresh twists, all played with an understated warmth.”
Zacc is also a busy sideman, having performed and recorded with countless artists, including Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Babatunde Lea, Eric Gravatt, Ben Wendel, Michael Janisch, and Nancy Harms. Currently, he plays with Jt Bates’ Grain Trio, Lars Larson’s Mancrush, Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band, Dean Granros’ Tall Tales, and Adam Meckler Quintet.
A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Zacc has studied privately with Adam Rogers, Jonathan Kreisberg, Gilad Hekselman, Lage Lund, Nir Felder, Miles Okazaki, Liberty Ellman and Fareed Haque. Zacc has taught privately for the past 20 years and is currently adjunct faculty in the music department at Hamline University and McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN and Carleton College in Northfield, MN.
“Since he first moved to Minnesota from southern Illinois, this remarkably fluid guitarist has positioned himself at the center of the Twin Cities jazz world…Whether playing alongside the McKnight-winning Atlantis Quartet or fronting his own Zacc Harris Group, Harris makes his mark, incorporating lessons from the greats into his own forward-looking style.” – City Pages
“Harris delivers a sound that is lucid, clear…providing rich-sounding accompaniment, and well-crafted solos” while Cadence Magazine calls some of Harris’ work with Atlantis Quartet “worthy of John McLaughlin.” – MPR News