Sonic Creed is vibraphonist Stefon Harris’ first recording as a leader in nine years. He recently came in to discuss the album, among other things, on Morning Jazz.
His working group, Blackout, features a core of two longtime associates: saxophonist Casey Benjamin, also known for his work in the Robert Glasper Experiment; and drummer Terreon Gully, whose rhythms have been a part of almost every Stefon Harris recording to date.
These days, the roster also include some new contributors: James Francies on piano and keyboards, Joshua Crumbly on bass, Mike Moreno on guitar, and Felix Peikli on clarinet. They appear on Sonic Creed along with vocalist Jean Baylor, percussionist Pedrito Martinez, flutist Elena Pinderhughes and others. Even an old friend, violinist Regina Carter, pitches in.
As for the material, it includes adventurous nods to the jazz pantheon — Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, Art Blakey — as well as the personal choices and stories that anchor Stefon’s sonic creed of creativity and empathy. This album is a collective musical statement, standing sturdy for a cultural celebration in Black America.
Audio edit: Sarah Kerson