Sam’s Jams Live: Wendell Harrison

The legendary saxophonist joins Sam’s Jams Live to play some of his favorite tracks and discuss his decades in Detroit’s jazz scene.

Wendell Harrison and Sam Beaubien smile and hold up some of Wendell's records in front of the WDET logo.

Wendell Harrison (left) smiles with Sam Beaubien in WDET's studios.

Wendell Harrison is a legendary jazz saxophonist hailing from Detroit. Over the course of his distinguished career, he has played with some of the biggest names in the business, including Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Sun Ra and Grant Green. Harrison is also a founder of the legendary Detroit Jazz label and ensemble, Tribe. He has released numerous albums as a solo artist and bandleader, showcasing his unique blend of bebop, soul and funk.

Harrison joined Sam’s Jams Live to discuss his decades in Detroit’s jazz scene and beyond, as well as his personal experiences working with some of the biggest names in music, from John Coltrane and Marcus Belgrave to Carl Craig. Get an inside look at the creative process, as well as an opportunity to hear some of his favorite tracks.

“Tribe was people getting together to survive, like any other tribe in the world, people coming together to sustain their future. At this particular time, we had musicians here that recorded for Motown. Motown had left, and those musicians were just out of work. (So we said,) ‘We’re going to do this together, we will put music out, finally, ourselves.’” — Wendell Harrison

Listen: Wendell Harrison shares stories from his decades in Detroit’s jazz scene

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  • Sam Beaubien
    Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.