By Jesse Bertel

Accompanying audiences on an intimate journey through jazz, standards, folk and blues, acclaimed guitarist Sean Harkness returns to the Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St., at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

A versatile soloist, composer and studio musician, Harkness has become a fixture in New York City’s folk and jazz music scenes. His performances span renowned venues such as the Blue Note, Smoke, Small’s, Birdland and more. Harkness is not confined to jazz clubs alone; he frequents folk, rock, and singer/songwriter venues including The Cutting Room and Joe’s Pub. His talent has been recognized by the Cabaret community, with appearances at prestigious venues like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

“I’m going to be drawing on a number of different genres and elements, and hopefully will have the common thread of my voice on the instrument,” Harkness said. “Whatever I play has to have a really strong melodic element that appeals to me, that makes me excited about doing something with it to share with people.”

Having released eight albums, Harkness has earned acclaim from critics and audiences alike for his ability to transcend genres, reaching listeners from diverse backgrounds. Whether collaborating with esteemed vocalists and musicians, or performing solo, he captivates audiences worldwide with his exceptional guitar skills and engaging presence.

“When I play solo, I have to cover all the bases — there’s rhythm, there’s a bass line of some sort to support harmony, there’s chords, and then there’s a melody on top of it — I’m in charge of all of that,” Harkness said. “Whereas if I’m in an ensemble, even with one other musician, there’s somebody else to share those responsibilities with.”

Throughout his illustrious career, Harkness has garnered numerous awards, including the 2014 BroadwayWorld.com Award for Best CD Release, the 2013 MAC Award for Ensemble Instrumentalist, and the 2011 Bistro Award for Outstanding Instrumentalist.

When writing new songs, Harkness breaks ideas into three elements.

“There is rhythm, there’s harmony and there’s a melody, and a piece has to be compelling to me in all of those areas to grab me enough to pursue the idea,” Harkness said. “Where it actually starts, it can be any of the three. Sometimes I’ve taken a walk and I realized the cadence of my step and it kind of prompted a little motif in my mind.”

Tickets for the performance are $59, offering limited availability and including reserved seating at onstage tables, appetizers, desserts, coffee/tea, and a cash bar.

The Jim & Linda Lee Performing Arts Center Ticket Office, located on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and one hour prior to performances. For reservations or more information, call 928-776-2000, or visit www.ycpac.com.

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