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Take Five With...

Take Five With Steven Messenger

By Published: November 13, 2007
Meet Steven Messenger: Steven Messenger is a smooth contemporary jazz artist who has a knack for producing uncluttered yet interesting and innovative soundscapes for the ears that just plain make you feel good.

Steven began his career as a musician in the early 70's, touring and recording with some of the rock and soul classics of the time. He is a multi-talented songwriter, composer and musician who plays guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument).

Today Steven spends most of his time in his studio experimenting with sounds and recording songs that he feels his listeners will find soothing, stimulating and uplifting. His diverse influences include Booker T & the MGs, Fattburger, Yanni, John Klemmer, Buddy Rich, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, George Benson, Herb Ellis, BB King, James Taylor, Loggins & Messina.

Instrument(s): Keyboards, Electronic Wind Instrument, Bass, Guitar, Drums.

Teachers and/or influences? I am self-educated over the past twenty years. I found I could learn more and learn it faster than if I was limited to the time constraints of a college curriculum. I obtained college level text books including, but not limited to, Theory and Composition of Music, Harmony, Rhythm, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Wind Instruments, Orchestration, Recording Engineering, Mixing and Mastering, and many tutorials and manuals pertaining to specific musical software rograms.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was in my sophomore year in high school when the music bug hit me after I attended a concert by a group called Paul Revere and the Raiders. With money I had earned on a paper route and lawn trimming business I purchased a Kay bass and a used Epiphone bass amp, bought Mel Bay's The Electric Bass by Rodger Filiberto, learned some licks, put together a band from school mates, called it the Dawnmen and started learning songs. The first song we learned was "Louie Louie," by the Raiders.

Your sound and approach to music: I would consider my sound to be Smooth Contemporary Jazz with an R&B/electronica edge, crossing over to adult contemporary. My approach to music is to blend melodic economy with uncluttered yet interesting arrangements that stimulate people to hum along, get moving and feel good.

Your teaching approach: I show people how to play with the music. I show my students ways to have fun learning and practicing, to internalize the knowledge and internalize the physical musical performance on an instrument and achieve the ability to play a passage free of thought and full of feeling. As musical performers and composers it is a challenge and responsibility to communicate the feel or emotional message to the listener through the music.

Your dream band: There are just simply to many gifted performers that I admire to even try to put together an ideal band.

Anecdote from the road: I have been so focused on my studio work for the last several years that I have not had time to tour or do live shows.

Favorite venue: I have been so focused on my studio work for the last several years that I have not had time to tour or do live shows.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? The recording projects I was involved with in the distant past were in the Rock & Roll and R&B genre, and so different from what I am doing now, so I will leave that in its time and place. My current release Edge Of The Wall is my favorite recording at this time.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? To provide music that stimulates good happy feelings in the listener, something they can enjoy as background music as they move through their day.

Did you know... I have performed on the recordings of other artists but I will not drop any names.

How do you use the internet to help your career? My personal website has information about me and my music. There are direct links to the main places where Edge Of The Wall can be purchased. It's easy to sign up for our mailing list at www.stevenmessenger.com. You can also find and watch on that same homepage a video of me, with the Amazing One-Man Band, performing "Sequious." Yes, it is really me playing all the parts on the same stage! I have Artist Profiles up on many of the social/music networking sites including MySpace, All About Jazz, and Reverbnation.

CDs you are listening to now: Right now it would be:

Boney James, Shine (Concord Records); Sting, Songs of Love (A&M Records); John Klemmer, Touch (ABC Records); Eric Clapton, Complete Clapton (Reprise Records); Pat Metheny, The Way Up (Nonesuch Records ).

With many more in the stack.

Desert Island picks: The same as what I am listening to now:

Boney James, Shine (Concord Records); Sting, Songs of Love (A&M Records); John Klemmer, Touch (ABC Records); Eric Clapton, Complete Clapton (Reprise Records); Pat Metheny, The Way Up (Nonesuch Records ).

With many more in the stack (I would have brought them along in a big trunk).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Generally I think the smooth contemporary jazz market is expanding steadily. With the fusion of jazz with rock, funk and soul there are many baby boomers finding contentment in the music.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I believe that roots jazz is great music and will always hold its own. Right now there are many contemporary jazz also known as jazz fusion artists that are creating beautiful new music. However, it appears that sometimes there is a rush for some of these artists to show off their chops instead of produce melodic stories for their listeners. To keep jazz alive and growing there needs to be more experimentation by combining new sounds and production ideas to push he envelope and provide people with new and interesting musical choices at the risk of commercial success. History has proven that in some cases the music that was once innovative and new has become commonplace and commercially viable.

What is in the near future? I am currently working on my next project that will include more smooth contemporary jazz songs with more melodic complexity riding on stimulating and innovative arrangements with a release date toward the end of 2008. After the next project is released I plan to design, produce and rehearse a live show and tour sometime in 2009.

By Day: When I am not in my studio I am managing various investments and I also appraise high end single family residences for the rich and famous.


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Download jazz mp3 “Sequious (Seek-We-Us)” by Steven Messenger