Embarks On U.S. Tour With New Band Blackout
Stefon Harris, the 3-time Grammy-nominated vibraphonist/marimbist, turns a corner with the April 20th release of Evolution, his 5th recording as a leader for Blue Note Records. His February 2003 release, The Grand Unification Theory, was an expansive concert-length jazz suite for a 12-piece ensemble of which the Los Angeles Times critic Don Heckman wrote the progress in Harris' work and ideas that has taken place over the last few years simply affirms the original view of him as one of the significant jazz players of the new century... Now, with the release of his remarkable suite, Grand Unification Theory, Harris reaches full magnitude as a mature jazz instrumentalist-composer."
Rolling Stone chimed in with their own 4-star review: Harris himself is a vibes player of considerable skill and feeling... Theory unfolds at a comfortable pace showing that masters of their craft never rush to conclusions."
This time out, Harris chooses a radically different direction, debuting a new jazz-forward band that he's dubbed Blackout. The band, which includes saxophonist Casey Benjamin, keyboardist Marc Cary, bassist Darryl Hall, and drummer Terreon Gully, has crafted a unique electric-acoustic hybrid concept, blending jazz with elements of R&B and hip hop; a sound that the Washington Post referred to as contemporary jazz on their own terms."
As Harris himself puts it: "We grew up listening to music that thumped. We love jazz and respect it and we think jazz should thump."
Evolution thumps. Blackout approaches jazz standards such as Summertime" with equal parts reverence and irreverence, their curiosity pushing the Gershwin classic into new light, while also expanding the repertoire with a version of the Sting tune Until," as well as a half-dozen original compositions from Harris and his bandmates.
With the release of Evolution, Stefon Harris & Blackout takes to the road, including dates in Minneapolis, St. Louis, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Denver:
STEFON HARRIS & BLACKOUT - 2004 U.S. TOUR DATES
4/24 - Appleton, WI - Lawrence University 4/26 - Minneapolis, MN - Dakota Bar 4/28 - St. Louis, MO - Jazz at the Bistro 5/3 - New York, NY - Jazz Standard 5/4 - Boston, MA - Regattabar 6/8 - Los Angeles, CA - Jazz Bakery 6/15 - Oakland, CA - Yoshi's 6/17 - Denver, CO - Mt. Vernon Country Club 7/3 - Iowa City, IA - Iowa City Jazz Festival 9/9 - Winston-Salem, SC - Wake Forest University 9/25 - Wichita, KS - Wichita State University 10/16 - Troy, NY - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall 10/27 - Kalamazoo, MI - Western Michigan University
Check out the Evolution digital postcard.