Benny Harrison is one of the best session men in the business. Now he’s moving into the spotlight.
The session man is as old as popular music itself; often unheralded, they provide the heart and soul behind many famous frontmen and big name bands.
Keyboard man Benny Harrison is one of the legends. He has emerged as one of the premier players on inumerable top hits.
In his latest project, Harrison has cast himself as showrunner co-producing a thee-part docu series called Back Up Front. It charts his career, the musicians he works with currently and those who have been mentors in his life.
Harrison describes it as an exclusive look at what goes on backstage before the curtain goes up. “Most people don’t realize it, but the show before the show, is a show unto itself,” he says.
Be it Felix Cavaliere or Tommy James, Vernon Reid or Corey Glover, Harrison has kept pace by distinguishing himself as one of the most in-demand players around.
Cavaliere said about Harrison: “Benny Harrison is an amazing talent. His love for music, his energy and enthusiasm separate him from all the rest. He is not just a musician he is family.”
And James added: “Benny, in addition to being a dear friend, is a tremendous musician and singer and a consummate pro – and I am very proud to work with him.”
There’s a reason you get to be in that club that includes such lumiaries as Glen Campbell who was in the legendary Wrecking Crew and was even a Beach Boy for two weeks.
The Wrecking Crew played on numerous recordings by The Monkees, Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher and Glen Campbell on band.
Drummer Jim Keltner, from Tulsa, backed the legendary Joe Cocker on his Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour decades before he became a player with George Harrison and John Lennon.
Born in Spanish-Harlem in New York City, Harrison first started attracting industry attention with his group The Spydrs at the infamous China Club, then an industry hotbed of emerging talent.
“We were in the regular rotation there and I met Will Lee there who turned us onto Paul Shaffer.” From there, Harrison immediately began to become an in demand, go-to player.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some great, great musicians, including Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Joe Walsh, Elvis Costello, Simon Kirke; and Charlie Drayton among others. It’s been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t have missed any of it,” says Harrison in a New York Independent interview.
Harrison just finished his first solo album Pages, co-produced by Mike Ciro (Alicia Keys and Alejandro Sanz) and the first single, “Soon” will be available for download.
Times Square Chronicles reviewed the music and said “We’ve heard it and it’s a terrific effort, rich in lyrical and musical content.”
Aside from his musical activities, for the last 6 years, Benny has been active with veterans who are either suffering from PTSD, alcohol, drug abuse or homelessness, in a program called Voices of Valor.
It’s a nine-week process to write a song with the vets who have served our country so well.
Benny produces and creates the musical/harmonic part of the process, and then takes the vets into a recording studio, where they can experience the process for themselves.
Says Benny, “It’s a way to give back by utilizing my talents. Totally rewarding.”
Harrison just held an early premier of his new album Pages at New York City’s prestigious Cutting Room, with his recording/touring band – Mike Ciro, Brian Dunn, Gene Perez, Emedin Rivera. Keith Anthony Fluitt, Tommy Bowers and Bobby Roman.
Special Guests have included guitar god Joe Bonamassa and Julio Fernandez (Spyro Gyra) added to the excitement of the evening to a sold-out crowd.
While thoroughly enamored of the past classics – music and artists- Benny is definitely entrenched in today’s contemporary scene. “I love being a part of it and with Pages, I hope to strike a chord,” he says.