Lance Harrison | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Lance Harrison

Lance (Easton) Harrison, saxophonist, clarinetist, banjoist, singer, entertainer (born 23 June 1915 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 November 2000 in Langley, BC).

Lance (Easton) Harrison, saxophonist, clarinetist, banjoist, singer, entertainer (born 23 June 1915 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 November 2000 in Langley, BC). At first a banjoist and guitarist, Harrison switched to saxophone in his teens and played in the Vancouver dance bands of Trevor Page, Sandy DeSantis, and Dal Richards. After service during World War II in RCAF dance and show bands, he was a sideman for over 20 years in Vancouver pit, dance, and hotel orchestras.

In 1950 he also began leading his own dixieland band, which was heard on the CBC, both in variety series - eg, 'Hotel Downbeat' (radio), 'The Twenties Roar' (radio), 'Some of Those Days' (TV, summers 1961-6) - and on jazz programs. It also performed in Vancouver clubs (eg, Pillar and Post), on the Vancouver Island ferries, and, during the 1980s, at Troller's Pub, Horseshoe Bay. Members of the band included the trumpeters Stew Barnett or Don Clark, the trombonist Jack Fulton, the pianist Bud Henderson, and the bassist Stan Johnson. It made several CBC broadcast recordings, including The Lance Harrison Dixieland Band (1965, RCI 263), as well as two commercial LPs, The Vancouver Scene (1965, RCA PCS-1043) and Happy Jazz (1972, Water St 1636).

Harrison was a convincing exponent of the dixieland and swing styles; his tenor saxophone style reflected the particular influence of Eddie Miller. Although Harrison rarely performed outside the Vancouver area, he was featured in the CBC TV special 'A Visit to New Orleans,' filmed during a trip to the birthplace of jazz in 1971, and he appeared with the US cornetist 'Wild Bill' Davison during club engagements made in Toronto and Ottawa in 1983. His band performed occasionally during the 1990s, and Harrison in 1994 joined the ensemble Red Beans and Rice, with Rice Honeywell, with whom he recorded the CD Runnin' Wild in 1996. Harrison was a member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.

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