Polly Harrison started her professional musical career forty years ago when she, drummer Kyle Keener and organist Mark Marty put together a B-3 trio they called Small World.
Eventually the organ player left the group. Polly and Kyle continued on as a jazz duo (Kyle sang and played drums while Polly played guitar, bass pedals and sang harmony). The two musicians spent years performing with Basie and Ellington sax legend Marshall Royal, tenor saxophonist Clifford Scott, trombonist Carl Fontana, Bill Comstock of the Four Freshmen and guitarists Gene Bertoncini, Bucky & John Pizzarelli, Herb Ellis and Cal Collins and many others.
Nearly 30 years ago, following the inspiration of her friend Bucky Pizzarelli, Polly took up the 7-string guitar and since then has become well known for her chord-melody expertise and her ability as an accompanist.
Small World has made a number of recordings including an all-Brazilian CD, a Christmas CD with all arrangements by Polly and a Christmas CD with the Four Freshmen!
Polly Harrison is the 2014 winner of the Mary Parchman Award for Jazz Excellence. In a career spanning four decades, she has inspired fellow musicians and audiences alike with her tasteful playing, her dedication, and her professionalism. She resides in San Antonio, Texas (with husband Hank Harrison) and plays a 1988 custom Benedetto 7-String made for her.
I still think she is the best guitarist in the state working duo with a singer. She plays such pretty and musical thoughts without being competitive with the singer. (Not everyone knows how to do that.) I have known her since Nov. of ’89 and she still pulls my ear in such a delightful way! DANNY MCKNIGHT (That smile on her face is honest and is there a lot!)
A favorite quote of Polly and Hank: “If you feel like tapping your feet, tap your feet. If you feel like clapping your hands, clap your hands. And if you feel like taking off your shoes, take off your shoes. We are here to have a ball. So we want you to leave your worldly troubles outside and come in here and swing.” – Art Blakey