- GRAMMY Live
Good evening readers. It's Thursday night, almost 11 p.m. and I'm finally settled down in the studio after a LONG work week. Hope this blog post finds you well. Stefon Harris & Blackout is a group of young, very talented jazz musicians that has been nominated in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category 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 contemporary. Take a listen to Stefon discuss the essence of Urbanus, his second album with Blackout.
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 has, but at a later point in their careers. I first discovered Harris through his second album, 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, young vibraphonist on the scene was akin to cool water and I've been a fan ever since.
Harris is associated with the subgenres of 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."
As a musician, I agree full circle with that statement. I'm definitely liking this release, and see Harris as being one of the primary vibraphonists on the jazz scene for years to come.