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Deux! Stefon Harris’ second Blue Note release is every bit as satisfying as 1998’s Cloud of Red Dust. On the current Black Action Figure we are faced with a septet that includes and is produced by label mate and altoist Greg Osby and includes Steve Turre on the ‘bone. But make no mistake, Harris is not lost among all of these players. This is very much his recording. The originals here are angular wonders of compositions readily dispatched by Harris and his fine rhythm section and soloists. Gary Thomas furnishes a fluid flute on “Of Things to Come” while Turre shines on “Club Madness.” “The ballad “After the Day is Done” features some pensive playing by pianist Jason Moran and Harris himself pounds a contrapuntal “You Stepped Out of a Dream.”
If you are not a Milt Jackson snob and liked Harris’ first recording, do yourself the favor of buying this one. The first was no fluke.
Track Listing: Club Madness; Feline Blues; There is No Greater Love; Of Things to Come; After the Day is Done; Conversations at the Mess; BlackActionFigure; Collage; You Stepped out of a Dream; Alovi; Bass Vibes; The Alchemist; Chorale, Faded Beauty; Musical Silence. (Total Playing Time 63:06).
Personnel: Stefon Harris: Vibraphone; Tarus Mateen: Base; Eric Harland: Drums; Steve Turre: Trombone; Gary Thomas Alto Flute, Tenor Saxophone; Greg Osby: Alto Saxophone; Jason Moran: Piano.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.