The Kennedy Center

Stefon Harris


Stefon Harris, whose The Grand Unification Theory (Blue Note, February 2003) was nominated for the 46th Grammy Awards for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album,” is a native of Albany, New York. He began to play jazz gigs as a vibraphone player while finishing his BA in classical percussion and MA in jazz performance at the Manhattan School of Music. He conducted and performed with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and recorded and performed with artists including Joe Henderson, Charlie Hunter, Buster Williams and Steve Coleman (The Sonic Language of Myth), and toured and recorded with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on percussion. He has composed for and performed with the African / modern dance troupe Seventh Principle Dance Company. With Cassandra Wilson he recorded two tunes, "ESP and "Seven Steps to Heaven," for the CD Traveling Miles. In 1998 Mr. Harris made his recording debut as a leader with A Cloud of Red Dust (Blue Note Records), featuring an all-star cast. He followed with two Grammy-nominated recordings, Black Action Figure (1999) and Kindred (2001). His latest Grammy-nominated release, The Grand Unification Theory , features Mr. Harris leading a twelve-piece ensemble. Mr. Harris has performed his original compositions with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in The Hague, and has appeared at such renowned venues as the Village Vanguard, Troy Music Hall, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center in California. He has performed with his quartet at the North Sea, Istanbul, Umbria, and Playboy jazz festivals. Stefon Harris has appeared several times at the Kennedy Center, including the January 2, 2002 “Billy Taylor's 80th Birthday Celebration,” New Year's Eve with Billy Taylor, December 31, 2002; NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas, December 6, 2003; and at the KC Jazz Club with his group Blackout, January 9 & 10, 2004.

April 2004
Stefon Harris