Patrick Harison is a young American button accordionist adept in a wide variety of settings and genres. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN performing in a diverse array of projects including Patty and The Buttons, Jack Klatt and The Cat Swingers, The Cactus Blossoms, Eisner’s Klezmorim and many others. Patrick is also active as an orchestral soloist playing both classical and pops programs with top orchestras across the United States under the baton of luminaries such as Doc Severinsen and Sarah Hicks. When not performing, he is an in demand composer, session musician, educator and arranger.
Born to a goldsmithing accordion player and a ballet teacher, Patrick Harison grew up in a home full of art, music and dance. He took piano lessons at an early age, as well as flute lessons from his step-mother who is an accomplished musician and suzuki instructor. His father encouraged him to pick up the accordion at age 13. Patrick learned how to turn the bulky and boisterous machine into a sensitive instrument by listening to and imitating the masters from every corner of the world. His only formal study was with midwestern accordion hero Larry Malmberg. By 14, Patrick’s professional career had begun. For extra income in high school, he formed a zydeco band which performed regularly at regional festivals, gaming establishments and backyard barbecues. As a young musician, he also had the opportunity to perform regularly with many notable Minnesota artists including; the Parisota Hot Club, Connie Evingson, The Mandragora Tango Orchestra, Clearwater Hot Club and many others in the worlds of jazz, folk and classical music.
In 2006, Patrick was awarded the McKnight Fellowship for performing musicians, the first accordion player to ever win the grant and one of the youngest recipients on record in any discipline. With his new found resources, he followed his musical passions around the globe. He spent a good deal of time in New Orleans, soaking up the diverse cultural influences of the region. During his time in Louisiana, He was a member of the Panorama Jazz Band and The Loose Marbles with whom he was able to tour internationally and perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The Veracruz Jazz Festival and notable venues domestic and abroad. 2008 brought Patrick to New York City to study eastern european folk music. While in New York he founded the Baby Soda Jazz Band, an international collective of musicians dedicated to bringing New Orleans Traditional Jazz to everyone, everywhere. The ensemble continues to perform in perpetuity bringing together old and young generations of musicians and listeners.
Patrick has appeared as a soloist with:
Fort Worth Symphony
North Carolina Symphony
“If Patrick Harison McPeck is there with the accordion, you’ll hear the Marbles’ repertoire of spooky, minor-keyed, Gypsy-influenced songs. ”
— Dan Baum – New Yorker
“Harison treats his instrument (a button accordion, not even a piano accordion, which I always thought would be easier to play) as though it has no limitations. He plays hot club and klezmer, Western swing, country, “old-tymey hot jazz,” and in-the-minute improvisations.
“Harison’s instrument is a chromatic accordion, with buttons on both sides (as opposed to piano-like keys on the right) and switches on the top he changes with his chin. On a tune he described as “a demented zombie polka,” his fingers were a blur.”
— Pamela Espeland – BeBopified
About Streetwalker, Harison’s 2006 Release:
“Harison is a gentle, humble young man with a presence about him – the calm assurance of a person who knows his soul has found its perfect place. And Harison’s perfect place is firmly behind his accordion, which has become an extension of his body and mind… He straps on his instrument, and intangible music from somewhere in the heavens funnels through his being into his fingers.”
— Jackie Dubbee of The St. Croix Valley Press
“Steetwalker is an album of international impact.”
— Leigh Kammen of MPR’s Jazz Image
“Sprinkled with just the right amount panache, Streetwalker, which highlights self-penned songs as well as tunes by Django Reinhardt and Hermeto Pascoal, is a musical revelation- respectful and simultaneously unpredictable. Merging youthful exuberance with a reverence for classic “old school” music, Harison has successfully bridged two worlds, old and new-the musical crossroads being his sublime and refreshing Streetwalker. Skillfully complemented by bass, guitar and flute, Streetwalker accomplishes a rare feat for a debut recording by being unflinchingly self assured, romantic and joyous. Mark my words, Harison is the real deal and a young talent to keep an eye and ear on.”
— Anthony J.W. Benson of inTune