Good evening readers. It’s Friday night, a little after 10pm and I’m finally settled down in the studio after a LONG work week. Hope this blog post finds you well. Stefon Harris and Blackout is a group of young, very talented jazz musicians that have been nominated in Category 44 – Best Contemporary Jazz Album, for their release, Urbanus. As I listen to the CD in the background, I think of the category they’re nominated for, and the category keyword that remains most descriptive is the adjective contemporary. Take a listen to Stefon discuss the essence of Urbanus, the second CD as the group, Blackout
Stefon Harris, is what is known in the jazz genre as a “young lion”, due to, of course, his age in comparison to the age of legendary jazz musicians who have achieved what he is doing, but at a later age. I first discovered Stefon by his second CD, Black Action Figure, which was released in 1999 on Blue Note Records. I’ve always liked the vibes (Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, etc), and to hear a fresh new, and young vibraphonist on the scene was akin to cool water and I’ve been a fan ever since. Fast forward to the more recent recordings from the group, Blackout, He is associated with the subgenres hard bop, post bop and progressive jazz, but infuses comtemporary stylings into his music. He’s quoted in the December 2009 issue of Ebony Magazine as saying “There is a misunderstanding of what jazz is…jazz is incredibly pliable..our music is about the here and now; it is not about the past. People think we’re mixing jazz and hip-hop, but I think that this is what jazz is now. My music is indicative of my generation… and old school artists and fans should embrace all jazz forms”.
I, especially as a musician, agree full circle with that. I’m definitely liking this release, and see Stefon Harris as being on of the primary vibraphonists on the jazz scene for years to come.
Stefon Harris & Blackout
Stefon Harris – Vibes/Composer
Marc Cary – Keys
Ben Williams – Bass
Terreon Gully – Drums
Casey Benjamin – Alto sax