Jazz artists Stefon Harris + Blackout live in free Alys Stephens Center show April 9

Harris, heralded as “one of the most important young artists in jazz” by The Los Angeles Times, will perform as part of a free, live-streamed series of concerts presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Center.

harris.2Jazz artists Stefon Harris + Blackout star in a free concert April 9, streamed live by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center

Harris, an educator, vibraphonist and composer, has been heralded as “one of the most important young artists in jazz” by The Los Angeles Times. The 7 p.m. CT live virtual concert is free and open to anyone who registers. Reserve your spot on AlysStephens.org.

A four-time Grammy nominee, Harris is:

  • A seven-time Best Mallet Player by the Jazz Journalist Association
  • Recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award
  • Downbeat’s Critics Poll Winner for Vibraphone in 2013, 2015
  • 2014 Expanded Critic’s Poll for Vibes from Jazz Times
  • Awarded a 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album for “Wonder: The Songs of Stevie Wonder” as a member of the SF Jazz Collective. 

Of its new jazz album “Sonic Creed,” Harris calls it “an album that chronicles the story of a people and their time on the planet. It is a reflection of African American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Furthermore, it is a sonic manifestation and creed of family, community and legacy. The album explores afresh the music of masters such as Bobby Hutcherson, Abbey Lincoln, Wayne Shorter and Horace Silver.” 

Alan Musson, UK Vibe jazz critic, proclaimed “Sonic Creed,” “5 out of 5 stars. If you only buy one jazz album this year, make it this one.”  

Harris earned degrees in classical percussion and jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He tours worldwide with his bands Sonic Creed, Blackout and Ninety Miles. Harris teaches at New York University and is the artistic director of Jazz Education at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He also teaches at the Brubeck Institute through its distance learning program and at the institute’s Summer Jazz Colony. Harris’ landmark TED Talk, “There Are No Mistakes on The Bandstand,” was the most watched in its 2011 release and has more than 500,000 views.

Harris will host a master class workshop at 12:20 p.m. titled “Harmony Cloud” for music majors presented by the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music. Harris will do a performance and clinic during the Friday performance hour, says Associate Professor of Jazz Studies Steven Roberts, DMA. 

“The great thing about Stefon Harris is that he is not only a virtuoso but also has dedicated his life to teaching,” Roberts said. “His TED talk has fired up the UAB students and they are anxious to ask him questions about jazz, music careers and general life as a musician.