John Harriman’s life in music began at the age of 7 as a chorister in Westminster Cathedral Choir where he went on to became Head Chorister and then a soloist for the Royal Opera. Having trained as a classical pianist he became interested in jazz in his teens and taught himself to play. He lived in California for nearly 10 years where he was active in the music scene and briefly attended Dick Grove Workshops in LA, one of the first ‘jazz’ schools. He has worn more than one hat: he studied law at the prestigious University of California Berkeley, where he was pianist for the jazz ensemble, and held a demanding ‘day job’ for a time.
The breadth of John’s music mirrors his diverse personal background with Irish, French and English grandparents and his Spanish wife, to whose Castilian homeland they decamp when they can.
John performs in a variety of jazz settings including duos, trios, quartets, whether as sideman or leader, and he is a popular accompanist for vocalists. He has performed in numerous jazz clubs and concert halls in the UK and abroad including the Bull’s Head, Pizza Express, the 606 Club, Boisdale Canary Wharf, St Martin in the Fields, Dora Stuezker Hall at Royal College of Music Cardiff and Auditorio Caja Duero Castilla Spain. He also performed in the anniversary celebration of internationally renowned pianist singer “Hutch” in Grenada attended by the country’s Prime Minister.
In recent years John’s reputation has grown in particular for Latin Jazz, for his playing and as well as his composition. He created the highly regarded quintet Heads South which performs mostly original music composed by John www.headssouth.com The Observer newspaper says “Heads South’s strong points are the compositions and keyboard playing of leader John Harriman and the trumpet of Steve Waterman, which combine to create a spare, crisp, invigorating set of Latin jazz”. Jazzmann says Heads South is “a very classy band with Harriman displaying a thorough knowledge of Latin American, and particularly Afro-Cuban melodies, rhythms and piano styles”. “John’s originals fully encompass the Latin spirit but allow traces of inspired improvisation” The Musician
John continues to play church organ and occasionally sings in choral ensembles. John is based near Tunbridge Wells and has a growing teaching activity with particular interest in teaching jazz to classically trained pianists.