Harris was born and grew up in Chicago. His father was originally from Cuba, and his mother from New Orleans. Like other successful Chicago musicians, including Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, Julian Priester, and Bo Diddley (among others), young Eddie Harris studied music under Walter Dyett at DuSable High School. He later studied music at Roosevelt University, by which time he was proficient on piano, vibraphone, and tenor saxophone. While in college, he performed professionally with Gene Ammons.In 1975, however, he alienated much of his audience with his album The Reason Why I'm Talking S--t, which consisted mainly of stand-up comedy. Interest in subsequent albums declined. He was a member of Horace Silver's Quintet in the early 1980s, and continued to record regularly well into the 1990s, sometimes in Europe where he enjoyed a loyal following, but his experimentation ended and he mainly recorded hard bop. He had moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and was responsible for much of the music on the hit TV series, The Bill Cosby Show Harris died in hospital in Los Angeles from bone cancer and kidney disease, at the age of 62.[
This interview was recorded at KXLU radio station in LA in 1983 Hosted by Barry Thomas
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