About Harlan Jefferson

Harlan Jefferson, was born in Rockford, Illinois and begun his musical journey via his parents' record collection, which included the soul and funk of the 70's, the Motown gospel soul of the 60's, and the jazz and hard bop of the 50's. At the age of 10 years old under the instruction of his father, he began taking Saxophone lessons. His father, A.Z. Jefferson, JR., once a professional saxophonist in his youth, in stored an appreciation and love for music in all of his three sons.

Harlan's love affair with classic gospel, jazz ballads and with rhythm and blues music of earlier decades, started when he was just a toddler. There was music in Harlan's life. Harlan and his family would gather at his grandparent's home on Sundays, to make music together after church. (His mother, grandmother and uncle were singers. His father and middle brother played saxophone while his older brother and grandfather played the guitar.) Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Mighty Clouds of Joy, B.B. King, George Benson, James Brown, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Charlie Parker, Mavin Gaye, Grover Washington Jr. and the music of old radio shows helped form his musical taste; as he grew older he was influenced by Prince, Sting, jazz/blues organist great Jimmy Smith, Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, and a host of others.

By the age of ten, Harlan started studying the saxophone, and within three years was working in clubs and touring the area performing the national anthem at several venues including professional and semi-professional sporting events. While in his teen years Harlan played in his High School and College band, winning several awards and participated in the prestigious All State Jazz Band. He was known as the 'National Anthem Player' for in and out of town semi/professional Basketball, Football and Baseball games, the Metro Centre and Regional College events. As Harlan evolved into a more experienced and seasoned musician, he began putting together his own bands quartets and musical events. One of his prized creations was Harlan Jefferson & The Funk Attack.

Harlan began playing professionally since age 13. He played solo and freelanced with other bands. Music ranged from traditional jazz to country. In November of 2000, Harlan released his debut CD, entitled 'Clandestine Rendezvous.' To date he has sold several CD's locally. He enlisted the help of New York Saxophonist Mark Johnson (co-producer), Alphonso 'Cheeseburger' McClain (keyboard player for the famous Gospel Sensations, The Mighty Clouds of Joy). His CD is tribute to his favorites, include such songs as 'Sunny', 'What you won't do for love', 'You are my lady', and Harlan's personal creations, 'Your all I need', and 'Clandestine Rendezvous'.

Potent as a saxophonist, flutist, vocalist, composer, arranger and actor. Harlan Jefferson is a very dynamic, creative and soulful artist with a kind and beautiful heart. Harlan is different from most saxophonist because he explores new dimensions of contemporary jazz without relying simply on technique and gimmicks. Harlan has a way of sticking to the melody while being spontaneous and exploring his soul with a combination of jazz, hip hop and funk. Harlan's music is so soothing because he extends voice like sounds from his saxophone. Harlan Jefferson possesses an extraordinary talent for creating music that speaks personally to every individual who hears him perform. But don't expect harlan to tell his listeners what to feel. "Grover Washington Jr. taught me how important emotional directness is in music, he says, "It's all about you communicate. You tell a story, but you leave it open to personal interpretation." Harlan has an original contemporary style that will transcend generations.

Harlan has either played with or opened up for such artists as R-Kelly, Tower of Power, Regina Carter, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Danny Boy, Richie Cole, Parliament Funkadelic, Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Smith - Organist, Spyro Gyro, Brandford Marsalis, Bob James, Koko Taylor, Mark Colby and many more . . . Over the years Harlan has acquired many fans and admirers. The Midwest Music Community has recognized his achievement through RAMI's, Best Act of Rockford Award and continued to flock to Harlan Jefferson Events.


  • Voted Best of Rockford Music Siblings by Rockford Magazine in 1995
  • Jefferson Brothers double RAMI winner 1995, 96
  • Harlan Jefferson & The Funk Attack winner 1996, 97, 98
  • Best of Rockford On The Waterfont winner 1996, 97, 98, 99, 2001
  • Played locally and regionally with well-known musicians
  • Played locally and regionally in festivals, clubs, concerts, theaters and casinos
  • Played at several colleges and universities including NIU, UW, UC, KSU and CIU
  • Have played on several demos and albums including country, rock & roll, rap, blues, gospel, r & b, funk and jazz
  • Has played for several non-for-profit groups including Tiger Woods Foundation, Juneteenth Celebration and AIDS Care Network
  • Has implemented and developed music and recreation camps for at-risk youth
  • Active private lesson teacher
  • Active performing arts speaker
Home {-} Tour Dates {-} The Sounds {-} News {-} About {-} Photos

All rights reserved © 2006 Harlan Jefferson.
Page design by ID Designs





























P.O. Box 1481
Rockford, IL 61105