Stefon Harris and Blackout’s “Urbanus” is a mixture or bop, fusion and New York cool on a backdrop of urban beats. Harris successfully blends classic grooves and tones with what can only be described as hardcore fusion.
There are touches of old school Miles in the recording; Miles during the Bitches Brew era. This is a departure from what you traditionally would expect from a vibraphone player.
Harris at one time was the captain of his high school wrestling team. In this recording he seems to be wrestling with identity.
Let me clarify this. Not only is the album very eclectic, the songs themselves can turn on a dime. This is a pleasant departure from the formula orientated pabulum that passes for Jazz these days.
Each song takes you deeper and deeper into Harris’ vision. At the end of this musical journey the CD no longer feels segmented or eclectic. You can now see Stefon’s direction with this beautiful piece of music.
There is also a lot of hip odd meter stuff going on, most notably “Tankified”. “Tankified” is a hip urban tune that allows Harris to really stretch out and show us what he has. “Blues For Denial” is yet another tune where Harris shines.
“Blues For Denial” has Lionel Hampton’s fingerprints all over it. While “Langston’s Lullaby” reminds me of some of the stuff that Pat Metheny did with Lyle Mays.
Like I said eclectic, but it all comes together. I would suggest this album to anyone. Progressive rockers, hip hop fans and acid jazz enthusiasts are especially encouraged to reach across the aisle for this CD.