Desert Island Jazz
Stefon Harris (2002)

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Vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris is heralded as "one of the most important young artists in jazz" (The Los Angeles Times). He is unquestionably developing what will be a long and extraordinary career.

Stefon Harris' passionate artistry, energetic stage presence, and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene. widely recognized and lauded by both his peers and jazz critics alike, the 30 year-old is committed to both exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone.

A graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, he received a B.A. in Classical Music and an M.A. in jazz performance. Stefon is a recipient of the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned back to back to back Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Album including The Grand Unification Theory (2003), the 2001 release of Kindred (Blue Note) and his 1999 release of Black Action Figure (Blue Note) for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. North Sea Jazz (Netherlands) named Harris for the prestigious International 2002 Bird Award for Artist Deserving Wider Recognition. He has been voted Best Mallet player by the Jazz Journalist Association (2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000), Debut Artist of the Year by Jazztimes, Downbeat's Critics Poll Winner for Vibraphone and Rising Star, Vibraphone (2003) Newsweek's Best Jazz CD, Best New Talent and 1999-2000 Readers Poll Best Vibraphonist by Jazziz Magazine and Chicago Tribune's Debut of the Year.

Mr. Harris has performed at many of the world's most distinguished concert halls, including Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. The Kennedy Center, San Francisco's Herbst Theater, UCLA's Royce Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center, Detroit's Orchestra Hall, and The Sydney Opera House. He has toured and recorded with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and performed his original compositions with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in Den Hague. He has toured South Africa, Brazil and Europe performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival, among others.

In 2001 he premiered "The Grand Unification Theory" -- a full length concert piece commissioned by The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall which was later presented at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He has also appeared at the legendary Playboy Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Most recently Mr. Harris received a commission from The Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Michigan State University which will debut in 2005.

An active educator Mr. Harris conducts over 100 clinics and lectures annually at schools and universities throughout the country. He is currently Artist in Residence at San Francisco Performances and in 2002 at The Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In addition he has been an active member of the Executive Board of Directors for Chamber Music America

"Blackout," Stefon's new project featuring a hybrid of acoustic music and progressive sounds debuted its CD, Evolution in April 2004 and also embarked on a national tour. Praised for "pursing jazz on it’s own terms" (Washington Post); the band features Casey Benjamin (alto sax), Marc Cary (keyboards), Darryl Hall (bass) and Terreon Gully, and has performed to sold out crowds at The Kennedy Center and North Sea Jazz Festival.

The 2003 release of The Grand Unification Theory; an eleven movement piece featuring Latin, Classical, African and Jazz influences earned a Grammy nomination, JAZZIZ Critics Choice and 4 star reviews from Downbeat Magazine, Rolling Stone and The Los Angeles Times,

His 2001 CD Kindred earned him his second Grammy nod for Best Jazz Album. A quartet recording with the noted pianist Jacky Terrasson Kindred is a follow-up to his sophomore release Black Action Figure (Blue Note Records) which was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. His premiere as a leader, A Cloud of Red Dust, was voted Best Debut Recording at the 1999 New York Jazz Awards.

In addition to leading his own band, Mr. Harris has recorded as part of The Classical Jazz Quartet, a series of jazz interpreted classics with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Lewis Nash. He has also recorded and toured with many of music's greatest artists, including Joe Henderson, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Buster Williams, Kenny Barron, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Cyrus Chestnut, Steve Coleman, and Steve Turre among many others.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Herbie Hancock The Prophet I Have a Dream (Blue Note)
# 2 Cannonball Adderley and Milt Jackson Things Are Getting Better Things Are Getting Better (OJC)
# 3 Stevie Wonder Journey through the Secret Life of Plants Send One Your Love (Motown)
# 4 Shirley Horn Here's to Life Here's to Life (Verve Gitanes)
# 5 John Coltrane The Gentle Side of John Coltrane Alabama (Impulse)
# 6 Thelonious Monk The Composer Bemsha Swing (Columbia)
# 7 Nancy Wilson The Best of Nancy Wilson Wave (Capitol)
# 8 Miles Davis Kind of Blue Blue in Green (Columbia)
         
Book Khalil Gibran, "The Prophet"
         
Luxury Item A camper in order to be able to drive around the island
Alternate Picks/Not Broadcast
Alt 1 Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come N/A (Atlantic)
Alt 2 Miles Davis Les Filles de Kilimanjaro N/A (Columbia)
Alt 3 Duke Ellington and John Coltrane Duke Ellington and John Coltrane N/A (Impulse)
Alt 4 Bobby Hutcherson Oblique N/A (Blue Note)
Alt 5 Wayne Shorter Schizophrenia N/A (Blue Note)
Alt 6 Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life N/A (Motown)
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