Harry Schulz was born in a suburb of New York City where he first began listening to jazz and old Fred Astaire recordings at home. As a teenager he taught himself to sing a Louis Armstrong trumpet solo from a track of "Ain't Misbehavin'". He went to Swarthmore College where he sang with an acapella group and received a B.A. in Philosophy.
He has studied jazz improvisation since 1987, first with Liz Gorrill, then in workshops with Sheila Jordan and currently with Connie Crothers. His musical influences include Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Nat "King" Cole and Roy Eldridge. He had something of a revelation concerning improvisation while listening to one of Charlie Parker's tracks of "Embracable You" and has been having a ball with jazz singing ever since. He made his debut in a concert at the Greenwich House Music School on Barrow Street in New York City on Flag Day 1991.
His CD "Havin' A Ball" was recorded with guitarist Andy Fite, bassist Rich Califano and drummer Roger Mancusao. It includes some original tunes co-written with Andy Fite. He lives in Greenwich Village, New York.
"Schulz' feeling is infectious, and so are his lyrics."
"Harry Schulz is a singer of uncommon depth of expression. He sings softly, but with a full resonance and a beautiful and natural vibrato, and a way of going straight to the heart of a song. He is also an important innovator in the area of jazz timing.
"It's a well established practice among both singers and instrumentalists to lag behind the beat when expressing a melody. When the great ones do it the exact rhythms sung can be intriguing and compelling, a rich source for musicological analysis; many others simply sound unfocused. The direction is always backward from the basic beat. Harry Schulz is the first person I ever heard take it in the opposite direction.
"The song was chugging along, nice and cool, and Harry suddenly jumped out in front, singing the lyric far ahead of it corresponding chords, and varying the melody so that it still meshed beautifully with them. I've heard him get as far as eight bars ahead, then stretch out a phrase to an improbable length and land right back home, easy as pie. I was so intrigued by this that I began to try it myself. It was a very disorienting experience; it literally made me dizzy. If you sing or play, try this sometime, keeping a full note-by-note awareness both of where you are and where the song really is, and see if you don't get dizzy, too.
"I asked Harry how this startling departure ever occurred to him, and his reply was that he'd been listening to Charlie Parker's "Embracable You" and that Bird's freedom to transcend the song's structure inspired him.
"This is a beautiful example of the difference between influence and imitation: Bird never did this thing that he inspired Harry to do. Harry got a feeling from Bird and it took him to something completely original. It's also the kind of line of influence that particularly moves and delight me: a singer, inspired by a saxophone player, comes up with a new conception with shattering implications for singers and instrumentalists alike."