Born and raised in New York, Harrison learned to play drums in his teen years under the tutelage of his father, Donald Harrison, who worked with Ron Anderson and the Versatiles. Barry eventually began subbing for his father, and gained recognition on the New York City club scene.

Harrison was the drummer for legendary bluesman, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland until Copeland’s death in 1997, after which time he went on to work for several years with Copeland’s daughter, Shemekia. In addition, he has worked and recorded over the years, with many prominent blues players, including Sonny Rhodes, Eddie Kirkland, Lonnie Shields, Chris Beard, Phil Guy, Phillip Walker, Bobby Kyle and Randy Lippincott. He plays drums and provides backup vocals in the SaRon Crenshaw Band and the Harlem Blues Project.

Harrison has performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Good Morning America, and Jazz Central BET.

Barry Harrison was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on September 25, 2011 as “Great Blues Artist from New York”.

© September 2011
Photos: Susan O'Kane