Saxophone player Hugh Jonathan Harris. Picture: Sbu Ndlovu
Saxophone player Hugh Jonathan Harris. Picture: Sbu Ndlovu
Saxophone player Hugh Jonathan Harris in his heyday.
Saxophone player Hugh Jonathan Harris in his heyday.
Durban - While his father and brothers were drawn to the classical piano and guitar, musician Hugh Jonathan Harris found his sound in the saxophone.

“There was something about the saxophone that left me in awe,” said 81-year-old Harris from Morningside, Durban.

“When I picked up the instrument for the first time as a teenager, I could not put it down. The melodies were so soothing,” laughed the retired music teacher and self-taught saxophonist.

His dad, Gradston Harris, was a school principal and played classical piano and his nine siblings - six brothers and three sisters - also took to music playing the guitar and singing.

With all this musical talent under one roof, the family decided to start a band, the Harris Trio, initially with his two brothers,

“My older brother Alan taught me to play the guitar. In addition to this, I played the penny whistle and the flute. Alan and I started the band along with Andy. Our other siblings joined later.”

His most memorable performances, he said, were at ballroom dancing competitions at the Durban City Hall in the 1960s.

“The atmosphere was vibrant and we played for hours. I even released LPs with the bands Kreme, Master Keys and Horizon among others.”

The father of three said that he drew inspiration from international saxophonists such as Paul Desmond and Grover Washington.

“I listened to their music carefully and spent hours trying to learn from their techniques.”

Harris no longer performs in shows but has passed on his love for music to his children and seven grandchildren.

“I feel proud when I see my family carry my legacy. My wife, Sandi, and children were my biggest fans.”

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