January 30, 2016
Stefon Harris and Sonic Creed made a joyous noise at the Miller Theater last Saturday (1/30).
Harris’ passionate artistry, energetic presence, virtuosity and “ear” for new talent made for an ingenious lineup of established and emerging artists, among them the 20-year old Berkley native, Elena Pinderhughes, cited as “the most exciting jazz flautist to have emerged in years;” pianist James Francies, a recent graduate of the New School for Contemporary Art and a force to reckon with; rock-solid bassist Joshua Crumbly; the spirited Jonathan Pinson and guitarist Mike Moreno, whose sense of lyricism and technique are spellbinding.
Over the course of two sets, the ensemble performed jazz classics, such as George Gershwin’s I Love You Porgy, Horace Silver’s Cape Verdean Blues, Wayne Shorter’s Go and original compositions by Harris.
There was no shortage of bright moments however I was particularly impressed with the ensemble’s sensitive interpretation of I Love You Porgy; the distinctive, commanding “voice” of James Francies and Pinderhughes who made significant contributions to the conversation and made it seem effortless.
Harris is a consummate musician, leader, and showman whose every note exudes passion and joy. In a brief conversation with Harris, via Facebook, he told me he is “energized” and “pushing his creative limits.”
The downside? All good things must come to an end.
Miller Theatre at Columbia University is the leading presenter of new music in New York City and one of the most vital forces nationwide for innovative programming. In partnership with Columbia University School of the Arts, Miller is dedicated to producing and presenting unique events, with a focus on contemporary and early music, jazz, opera, and multimedia performances
Next up: The Miller Theater wraps up its Jazz Series with the Miguel Zenon Quartet, Saturday, February 20, 2016. See you there!