Funk music put Dayton on the map as the Land of the Funk in the 1970s and '80s thanks to groups Including the Ohio Players, Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame, Zapp, Faze-O, Heatwave, Sun, Slave and Lakeside.
Keith Harrison of Trotwood is one of the many people behind Dayton’s funk dynasty.
We had the chance to catch up with Keith in his home to talk about his career and his next chapter.
HOW HE GOT HIS START IN MUSIC
Keith, a graduate of Jefferson High School where his mom was an art teacher, had taught himself to play music and formed a band with many of his high school buddies.
His band was signed by Clarence Satchell of the Ohio Players and eventually that band became Faze-O.
Its biggest hit, “Riding High," continues to be sampled by hip-hop artists.
FAZE-O, HEATWAVE, DAZZ BAND
After Faze-O, Keith went on to be a member of the Dayton funk band Heatwave and then the Cleveland-based group the Dazz Band.
He penned its hit "Let It All Blow."
Harrison won a Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal Grammy Award with the Dazz Band for 1982’s "Let It Whip.”
In fact, he’s the only Dayton funk legend to have a Grammy.
He left the Dazz Band and the road in 1992.
Throughout his career, Keith has worked with a list of artists that includes Jeff Lorber, Ray Parker Jr., Ohio Players, George Clinton P-Funk All Stars, Lo-Key, Charlie Wilson and Morris Day and the Time.
He appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” with the Time in the mid-’90s and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hug the talk show host.
FUNKY NEXT CHAPTER
Keith plays three instruments — the bass, drums and piano — and is set to release his first solo CD, “One Love,” on Monday.
The R&B album includes dance songs like “Kardiac” and love songs like “Baby Don’t Cry” and “I Give My All to You” that show off Keith’s writing and singing skills.
“It is about one-on-one relationships,” he said about the CD to be released to most major online music stores and services.
Click here to find the CD on Amazon.com.
HIS GREATEST HONOR
Keith was inducted into the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame in September 2015.
Keith’s walk of fame marker is near Williams and Third in the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.
During the induction ceremony, he got choked up talking about lessons learned from his parents and family and Dayton’s love and support.
His home studio and the hallway leading to it are filled with memorabilia and awards recognizing his music career, but the former executive director of Camp Fire USA Greater Dayton Area Council said the Dayton Walk of Fame honor is the one he is most proud of.
“That was a big moment of my life,” Keith said. “This is something that will always be there. I will be dead and gone. My grandkids will be dead and gone. Generation after generation will see that; that’s why it is so awesome to achieve that.”
>> READ MORE IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW: What Keith Harrison had to say about the lures of drugs and alcohol in the entertainment industry, his battle with cancer and his family’s influence on his life and career