Timba Harris

Last updated
Timba Harris
Timba-harris DSC03286.jpg
Timba Harris in Aarhus, Denmark 2017
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Bruce Harris
Born (1977-09-21) 21 September 1977 (age 46)
Occupation(s) Composer, performer
Instrument(s) Violin, viola, trumpet, guitar
Labels Tzadik, Mimicry
Website http://www.timbaharris.com

Timba Harris (born September 21, 1977) is a violinist, violist, trumpet player, and composer. He is an active touring and recording member of Trey Spruance's Secret Chiefs 3, a founding member of the band Estradasphere, and one half of the electroacoustic chamber duo Probosci. His large ensemble works have been recorded for John Zorn's Tzadik Records, and his playing and orchestral arrangements can be found on recordings throughout the experimental rock world and on video games and film. Harris has performed in theaters, halls, clubs, and festivals in over 45 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. He has been based in several locations during his career, including Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Seattle, New York, England, and France.



Early life

Timothy "Timba" Bruce Harris was born in 1977 in Burbank, California. During his childhood and teenage years, he studied and performed classical music, percussion, wind ensemble music and played iconic rock clubs on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood with his heavy metal band Insanity.

From 1995 to 2000, he attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying trumpet performance and violin performance, the latter under Roy Malan. Here he formed the band Estradasphere with schoolmates, which became his first international touring ensemble and led to working relationships with the larger professional worlds of contemporary classical music, avant-garde jazz, and experimental rock.

Bands and ensembles

Timba Harris is a longtime multi-instrumentalist in Trey Spruance's musical exploration into mysticism, Secret Chiefs 3, an offshoot of Mr. Bungle. Since performing with the band during a US tour with Harris's band Estradasphere in the summer of 2000, he has been a perpetual presence on Secret Chiefs 3's recordings and in performances, including the Xaphan: Book of Angels Volume 9 ensemble, which performs and records interpretations of John Zorn's Masada music.

Estradasphere, formed in 1999, toured the US and Europe during the 2000s. They released several recordings and movies on Mimicry Records and The End Records before disbanding in 2009. In 2007, the band met Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls) and collaborated on Palmer's projects [1] including her 2007 album Who Killed Amanda Palmer and her duo with Jason Webley, Evelyn Evelyn, culminating in an invite-only, multi-day live performance at the band's Seattle compound.

Harris's work, beginning in the mid-2000s, with composer and guitarist Gyan Riley (son of the American composer Terry Riley) in the Gyan Riley Trio, first with drummer Scott Amendola and then Ches Smith, led to an enduring musical relationship with Riley, which in 2014 became a duo named Probosci. The duo, comprised of Harris and Riley, composes pieces for each other, which are then performed electro-acoustically on violin and classical/electric guitar. Since 2014, the group has performed throughout North America, South America, and Europe, and released their first recording, Time to Feed, on Mimicry Records.

After becoming involved with the New York Arabic Orchestra in 2012, both as a performer and an administrator, Harris subsequently formed Arabic/rock fusion band Al Madar with the NYAO's directors, Lebanese multi-instrumentalist Basam Saba and percussionist April Centrone. Al Madar has performed at the Beirut Jazz Festival in Lebanon, the Sines Festival Músicas do Mundo in Portugal, and Joe's Pub in Manhattan.

Other work as a performer

Timba Harris has appeared frequently with the contemporary music ensemble New Music Works in Santa Cruz, California. As "guest artist" and "featured artist," he has performed NMW director Phil Collins live music scores for Metropolis and Nosferatu, as well as the world premiere of Harris's own composition, neXus I: Cascadia with the New Music Works ensemble and the Ariose Singers.

Harris toured and recorded with the Seattle-based band led by Randall Dunn, Master Musicians of Bukkake, during their Totem Trilogy era (2009-2011).

Solo work / composition styles

Timba Harris's composition neXus I: Cascadia (2011), for choir and electroacoustic instrumental ensemble, is a "musical representation of the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest with a focus on transitional processes." The musical narrative focuses on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, the seasonal behavior of the black bear, and the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. The 45-minute piece is a set of compositions and controlled improvisations informed by data concerning the subject matter and recorded and composed in a back-and-forth process that defined the ultimate musical result. The choral movements were recorded by the 85-member CSULB University Choir under the baton of Dr. Jonathan Talberg.

Harris other compositional and playing styles make use of elements of Arabic, Romanian, contemporary classical, and rock music. An essay written by Harris on this subject was published in John Zorn's Arcana III: Musicians on Music (2008).

Timba Harris composes and records solo, chamber, and large ensemble collaborations with other artists such as Eyvind Kang, Stephen O'Malley (Ensemble Pearl) and Grails.

Other recordings

As a session musician and performer, Harris has also contributed to composers' work such as John Zorn, Peter Garland, Eyvind Kang, and Toby Driver. He appears on recordings by Mr. Bungle, Amanda Palmer, and several projects produced by Randall Dunn, including albums by Wolves in the Throne Room and Sunn O))). He also provided the violin and trumpet performances on the soundtracks for the popular Valve video games Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2 .


Timba Harris


Secret Chiefs 3


With others


Video games

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Zorn</span> American composer, saxophonist and bandleader

John Zorn is an American composer, conductor, saxophonist, arranger and producer who "deliberately resists category". His avant-garde and experimental approaches to composition and improvisation are inclusive of jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, contemporary, surf, metal, soundtrack, ambient, and world music. In 2013, Down Beat described Zorn as "one of our most important composers" and in 2020 Rolling Stone noted that "[alt]hough Zorn has operated almost entirely outside the mainstream, he's gradually asserted himself as one of the most influential musicians of our time".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Masada (band)</span>

Masada is a musical group with rotating personnel led by American saxophonist and composer John Zorn since the early 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trey Spruance</span> American musician and composer (born 1969)

Preston Lea "Trey" Spruance III is an American composer, producer, and musician who co-founded the experimental rock band Mr. Bungle. He is also leader of the multi-genre outfit Secret Chiefs 3. Originally a guitarist and trumpeter, in the early 90s Spruance began playing vintage electronic organs, analog synthesizers, saz, santur, electric sitar, tar, and various other string and percussion instruments. In the mid 90s he founded Forking Paths Studio where his production techniques were applied to Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 records among many others. Since 2007 Spruance's Secret Chiefs 3 has been a very active live entity, performing well over 500 shows in more than 50 countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wayne Horvitz</span> American composer, keyboardist and producer

Wayne Horvitz is an American composer, keyboardist and record producer. He came to prominence in the Downtown scene of 1980s and '90s New York City, where he met his future wife, the singer, songwriter and pianist Robin Holcomb. He is noted for working with John Zorn's Naked City among others. Horvitz has since relocated to the Seattle, Washington area where he has several ongoing groups and has worked as an adjunct professor of composition at Cornish College of the Arts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Winant</span> American percussionist

William Winant is an American percussionist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trevor Dunn</span> American musician (born 1968)

Trevor Roy Dunn is an American composer, bass guitarist, and double bassist. He came to prominence in the 1990s with the experimental band Mr. Bungle. While performing with Mr. Bungle, Dunn would dress similar to the St. Pauli Girl. He has since worked in an array of musical styles, including with saxophonist/composer John Zorn, Secret Chiefs 3 and with his own avant-garde jazz/rock ensemble Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant. He is also a member of the band Tomahawk.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Estradasphere</span> American experimental band

Estradasphere was an American experimental band that originated in Santa Cruz, California, during the late 1990s. The band, which in its last incarnation was based in Seattle, consisted of six multi-instrumentalists from a variety of musical backgrounds trained in disciplines ranging from classical music and jazz to heavy metal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Secret Chiefs 3</span> American avant-garde band

Secret Chiefs 3 is an American avant-garde group led by guitarist/composer Trey Spruance. Their studio recordings and tours have featured different lineups, as the group performs a wide range of musical styles, mostly instrumental, including surf rock, Persian, neo-Pythagorean, Indian, death metal, film music, and electronic music.

Kato Hideki is a Japanese musician and composer. He was a seminal member of the Tokyo Noise music scene of the late 80s and early 90s, collaborating with Japanese experimental musicians such as Otomo Yoshihide, Tatsuya Yoshida, Makigami Koichi, and Yamatsuka Eye. He led his own bands, Player Piano and Bass Army. He was a member of the original Ground Zero with Otomo and Uemura Masahiro. In 1992 Kato moved to New York City where he still resides.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clinton McKinnon (musician)</span> American musician (born 1969)

Clinton "Bär" McKinnon is an American musician, perhaps best known for being a saxophonist in the San Francisco-based band Mr. Bungle.

Chris Brown is an American composer, pianist and electronic musician, who creates music for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, for computer networks, and for improvising ensembles. He was active early in his career as an inventor and builder of electroacoustic instruments; he has also performed widely as an improviser and pianist with groups as "Room" and the "Glenn Spearman Double Trio." In 1986 he co-founded the pioneering computer network music ensemble "The Hub". He is also known for his recorded performances of music by Henry Cowell, Luc Ferrari, and John Zorn. He has received commissions from the Berkeley Symphony, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, the Gerbode Foundation, the Phonos Foundation and the Creative Work Fund. His recent music includes the poly-rhythm installation "Talking Drum", the "Inventions" series for computers and interactive performers, and the radio performance "Transmissions" series, with composer Guillermo Galindo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michiyo Yagi</span> Musical artist

Michiyo Yagi, a Japanese musician who studied koto under Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai and Satomi Kurauchi, and graduated from the NHK Professional Training School for Traditional Musicians. Between 1989 and 1990, during her tenure as visiting professor of music at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, U.S.A., she premiered numerous modern compositions for koto and came under the influence of maverick American composers such as John Cage, Conlon Nancarrow, and John Zorn. Her solo koto CD Shizuku was produced by Zorn and released on the Tzadik label in 1999. In 2001 she recorded "Yural" with her koto ensemble Paulownia Crush for the East Works label. Under the auspices of the Japan Foundation, Yagi toured Russia with this ensemble in the fall of 2004.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyro Baptista</span> Brazilian musician

Cyro Baptista is a Brazilian percussionist in jazz and world music. He creates many of the percussion instruments he plays.

Jason Schimmel is an American composer, guitarist, musician, recording engineer and producer from Los Angeles, California. He is a founding member of the bands Estradasphere, Red Fiction, and Orange Tulip Conspiracy. He is an active member in Trey Spruance's Secret Chiefs 3. He has also performed with John Zorn's Masada, J.G. Thirlwell, Neil Hamburger, Amanda Palmer, Michael White, Eyvind Kang, Wayne Horvitz and Jason Webley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eyvind Kang</span> American musician

Eyvindur Y. Kang is an American composer and multi-instrumentalist. His primary instrument is viola, but has also performed on violin, tuba, keyboards and others.

<i>Xaphan: Book of Angels Volume 9</i> 2008 studio album by Secret Chiefs 3

Xaphan: Book of Angels Volume 9 is an album by the Secret Chiefs 3 performing compositions from John Zorn's second Masada book, "The Book of Angels". It is the fifth studio album to be released by the Secret Chiefs 3. As with the other volumes of the Book of Angels series, the titles of the songs are characters from Jewish and Christian mythology. The title of the album, Xaphan refers to one of the fallen angels who rebelled with Satan and set the Heaven on fire.

<i>The Unknown Masada</i> 2003 studio album by John Zorn

Masada Anniversary Edition Volume 3: The Unknown Masada is the third album in a series of five releases celebrating the 10th anniversary of John Zorn's Masada songbook project. It features twelve previously unreleased Masada compositions performed by Erik Friedlander's Quake (1), Rashanim (2), Dave Douglas (3), Tatsuya Yoshida (4), Naftule's Dream (5), Jamie Saft (6), Zahava Seewald (7), Koby Israelite (8), Julian Kytasty (9); Fantômas (10), Wadada Leo Smith and Ikue Mori (11), and Eyvind Kang (12).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tzadik Records</span> American record label

Tzadik Records is a record label in New York City that specializes in avant-garde and experimental music. The label was established by composer and saxophonist John Zorn in 1995. He is the executive producer of all Tzadik releases. Tzadik is a not-for-profit, cooperative record label.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Randall Dunn</span> United States record engineer and rock musician

Randall Dunn is an American record producer, audio engineer, composer, and musician.

<i>Perichoresis</i> (album) 2014 studio album by Ishraqiyun

Perichoresis is the debut studio album by Ishraqiyun and the eighth studio album by Secret Chiefs 3, released on October 21, 2014 by Web of Mimicry. The album comprises Afghani music influenced original compositions that utilize non-Western tunings and instrumentation that the band had previously performed in over forty countries. It is the second album in the band's discography to feature music entirely created by one of the satellite projects.


  1. Corazon, Billy (November 1, 2007). "Live show review of Amanda Palmer with Estradasphere @ 608 Club in Ballard". Three Imaginary Girls. Retrieved 2009-09-22.