Two major distinguishing factors that make Eddie Harris an innovator had to do with his teacher at DuSable High School in Chicago, and his use of the Varitone Saxophone. It’s a pickup for saxophone. If you look closely at the video, you’ll see he’s got a line going from his instrument to a black box, and that he fiddles with it from time to time. This was a now defunct piece of technology invented by H & A Selmer, Inc., in an attempt to give the saxophone the same versatility as other electrified instruments.
His teacher was Walter Dyett was the kind of music teacher many serious musicians would love to have. Many of his students were successful professional musicians: Gene Ammons, Nat "King" Cole, Bo Diddley, Dorothy Donegan (and Dorothy Donegan again), Julian Priester.
Which old standards (players or pieces) have your ear?
Note: Our sister site Newstalgia has Backstage Weekend with Massive Attack - Live at the Phoenix Festival 1996.