Stefon Harris and Blackout closed out the 2012/2013 Jazz series at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Friday, February 16, 2013, and Luxury Experience had the great pleasure of catching the performance.
Stefon and his multi-talented band, Blackout: Casey Benjamin on saxophone and vocorder, Marc Cary on piano and keys, Luques Curtis on bass, and Obed Calvaire on drums, played several cuts off their Urbanus CD released on the Concord Records label, including Minor March, Shake It For Me, and Christina. Other great songs included TT Bone, Abbey Lincoln's Throw It Away, Duke Pearson's Minor League, and Sting's Until from the movie, Kate & Leopold.
Vibraphones are an integral part of jazz, played by jazz greats such as Lionel Hampton, Tito Puente, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, and Stefon Harris, named six-times as Best Mallet Player by the Jazz Journalist Association, and watching him perform is a joy.
Alternately playing both the vibraphone with its metal keys and resonator pedal, and the marimba with its wood keys, Stefon deftly created a vibrant, fresh, modern sound that captured the imagination. To play the vibraphone or the marimba requires kinetic energy, and a definite physicality. Watching Stefon play using the padded ends of two or four mallets, the wooden ends of the mallets, or playing with his fingers, he approached the instruments weaving and dodging on his feet as graceful as a dancer or a boxer, the movement itself as vital as the sound he created.
Stefon Harris Performing
Musician, composer, educator, Stefon Harris engaged and connected with the audience with his storytelling prowess, as well as with his talent on the vibraphone and marimba. Throughout the evening, the band showed their sass, style, and excellence as a cohesive ensemble as well as with memorable duets, solos by Stefon, and the band. Marc Carey, who has earned four Grammy® nominations, worked his magic on the piano and keys, Luques Curtis contributed some great bass solos, and Obed Calvaire showed his talent on drums. Benjamin Casey, who recently earned a Grammy® for his work with the Robert Glasper Experiment, for the release, Black Radio, which won Best R&B Album for 2013, played saxophone solos. He also demonstrated his prowess playing the vocorder on the song, Christina, to create a hauntingly beautiful, new-age sound.
Stefon Harris with double mallets
Improvisational jazz is about focusing on the moment, the here and now, music never played exactly the same way before, nor will it be played exactly the same way again, making the work a continual evolution, a journey, one that is ever new, ever fresh, ever memorable. Stefon Harris and Blackout successfully captured the here and now with their performance at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University making us very glad to be along for the ride.
Conveniently located in Fairfield, Connecticut, the Quick Center for the Arts is a 30-minute drive from Greenwich and New Haven, a 60-minute drive from Hartford, and a 90-minute drive from New York City. The Quick Center for the Arts has an extensive program of theatre, dance, opera, classic, and jazz series, as well as family productions throughout the year.
Quick Center for the Arts
Please visit their website, www.QuickCenter.com for program information. For tickets or information, please call: +1-203-254-4010 or toll-free: 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396).
For upcoming Stefon Harris and Blackout performances, please visit the website: www.StefonHarris.com
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Quick Center for the Arts
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
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