The Hal Leonard Jazz Series brings to Milwaukee one of the premier "Young Lions" of the jazz music industry. Imagine seeing the great Lionel Hampton or Milt Jackson when they had just began to crave out their many years of establishing the vibraphone as an accepted part of the jazz music scene. Well the 28-year old Stefon Harris is continuing that lineage today by exploring uncharted pathways of composition and jazz performance with the vibraphone. With a B.A. in classical music and a M.A. in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music, Stefon has been astonishing audiences around the world with his inventive free-flowing style and masterful control of this malleted instrument.
With the recent release of his third CD, Kindred, Stefon once again proves that he always has a new trick in his back pocket. Stefon comments about his releases by says, "I never want to do the same thing twice." "A Cloud of Red Dust" was his first release as a leader. This release won him many accolades from the jazz critics. Furthermore, Stefon continued this forward acceleration on his sophomore release, "Black Action Figure" on Bluenote Records. This release earned Stefon a much deserved Grammy nomination, the Jazz Journalist Associations award, "Best Mallet Player" of 2000 & 2001, JazzTimes’ "Debut Artist of the Year" and Jazziz Magazine Readers’ Poll "Best Vibraphonist for 1999-2000.
The Milwaukee crowd was seeing history in the making with this talented young vibraphonist backed up by some other impressive up and coming players. Stefon’s bandmates included: Xavier Davis on piano, Tarus Mateen on bass, and Terreon Gully on drums. The group approached each set centered around the theme of "improvisation". Stefon started the group out playing a spontaneous solo and would begin to weave and meld this into jazz standards recognized by all. Some of the most memorable tunes played that night were the title track from Stefon’s freshman release, "A Cloud of Red Dust", Gershwin’s "Summertime", an inventive exploration of "There’s No Greater Love", a funky fashioned form of "Blue Monk" and a memorable take on an Xavier Davis original composition, "Tall Strutin’."
With a long, bright and most promising career ahead of him, Stefon Harris is sure to bring delightment as well as a fresh experience to the ears of jazz music fans for many years to come.