Stefon Harris and Blackout: Gone


Gone (Variation Of “Gone, Gone, Gone”)


Stefon Harris and Blackout


Urbanus (Concord Jazz CJA-31286-02)

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Stefon Harris (vibes, marimba), Marc Cary (keyboards, Fender Rhodes), Casey Benjamin (alto sax), Ben Williams (bass),

Terreon Gully (drums), Y.C. Laws (percussion), Anna Webber (flute), Anne Drummond (alto flute), Mark Vinci (clarinet), Sam Ryder (clarinet), Jay Rattman (bass clarinet)


Composed by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward


Recorded: January 13,14,15, 2009, Hoboken, NJ


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Arguably the most memorable rendition of this tune derived from the classic Gershwin Porgy & Bess opera is Miles Davis’, replete with Gil Evans’ majestic arrangement. That said, Stefon Harris does a noteworthy job “urbanizing” the song while completely retaining the song’s orchestral splendor. He accomplishes this by building a small army of wind instruments that are predominantly higher register instruments. For the lower end of the tonal spectrum, Harris has his own Blackout backing band to handle that, and also to lay down a polyrhythmic pulse straight out of Washington D.C.’s go-go funk scene. Cary’s Rhodes and clavinet provides the final layer of textures, that of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters. Gershwin’s dramatic, fitful chart blurts from the flutes and clarinets, while Harris’ street-wise unit chugs along in the pocket. The clash of the two seemingly opposing forces in music creates the desired sparks, due to Harris’ deft arrangement that didn’t allow for one style to dominate the other.

Miles’ own version is a groove-oriented adaptation of “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Harris is merely doing the same thing, only he’s using a more modern groove.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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