In the Sound of New York series, Gloria Rebecchi has created ten profiles of artists that define the New York jazz scene and, by extension, trends in improvised music internationally. Stefon Harris is one of the few artists in the series who is native to New York. He grew up wanting to join the city's famous Philharmonic Orchestra before discovering the music of Charlie Parker and changing directions. Active as a Blue Note vibraphonist since the 90s, Harris is a name that pops up a lot in awards circles and he has collaborated far and wide across both borders and genres.
It is his stage presence and astonishing virtuosity that has defined his journey to the top of the scene. Vibraphonists have traditionally held an important place in reconstructing the potential of jazz composition and Harris is no different. Through his extensive discography and via projects like Harmony Cloud, an app he invented that helps users engage more deeply with music, no matter their level, he reveals himself to be both seeker and educator. Whether through using the app, hearing his recordings or seeing him on stage, our ears are expanded, our connection to harmony illuminated and our senses enlivened and challenged.