As with his first release, A Cloud of Red Dust, BlackActionFigure finds Harris in the company of trombonist Steve Turre and alto player Greg Osby, among others. He sprints gracefully through "Feline Blues," inspired by a cat padding atop the metal bars of a vibraphone, while his mallets tell mellower tales as the CD unwinds, making the vibes resonate warmly on the ballad "Faded Beauty." Throughout, the rhythm section brings an elastic sense of time to the recording, rushing madly on the uptempo numbers and staying in soft focus elsewhere. Harris may have many miles to travel before he can be placed on the all-time best-of list, but he's off to a fast start.
Stefon Harris appears on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi's Nitespot, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Tickets are $12; call (510) 238-9200.