bar_big image

Stefon Harris and Blackout

US: iTunes, Amazon CD, Amazon MP3
Canada: iTunes, Amazon CD

[Listen to Stefon Harris & Blackout in the Nextplayer]

Jazz for the "here and now" is the best way to describe vibraphonist, composer and bandleader Stefon Harris' new disc, Urbanus, his 7th CD as a leader, which also marks his Concord Records debut. Urbanus picks up where 2004's Evolution (Blue Note) left off in that it features Blackout, his scintillating ensemble that's as versed in modern jazz as it is with rhythms, melodies and soundscapes associated with R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk. Blackout displays a deeper group rapport as well as a more expansive sonic palette as Marc Cary complements the acoustic piano with Fender Rhodes and alto saxophonist Casey Benjamin lends his captivating vocoder work to the proceeding. The group also features Terreon Gully on drums and Ben Williams on bass. Harris' brilliance at broadening textures and colors comes to play with his sensational woodwind and string arrangements on a few of the compositions as well.