Vibraphonist/percussionist Stefon Harris originally planned to pursue his musical ambitions as a member of the New York Philharmonic, but his first exposure to the music of Charlie Parker convinced him to play jazz instead. Emerging during the mid-'90s on sessions led by Steve Turre, Charlie Hunter, and others, he made his solo debut in 1998 with the Blue Note release A Cloud of Red Dust. The Grammy-nominated Black Action Figure followed a year later. A collaboration with labelmate, pianist Jacky Terrasson, was a defining moment for Harris. Their week-long showcase at the Village Vanguard in summer 2001 was a success, encouraging both artists to work together in the studio. Kindred, a set of standards woven around a few original tracks, was issued in 2001.
The Grand Unification Theory pushed Harris' boundaries yet again. The 12-piece ensemble jazz suite appeared in 2003, eventually earning Harris the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Dates with the Kenny Barron Quintet coincided with the spring 2004 release of Evolution. African Tarantella appeared in 2006, followed three years later by Urbanus in 2009. ~ Jason Ankeny
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