A jazz saxophonist/flutist and Harvard-trained musicologist, Steve, has for 35 years, focused his talents on the richness and diversity of Brazilian and Latin music. An internationalist fluent in five languages, and with twenty years experience on the New York music scene, Steve has performed, recorded and/or written for a wide variety of artists including Tito Puente
, and Talking Heads. David Byrne made extensive use of Steve's talents on his Rei Momo and Uh-Oh albums and subsequent world tours. He has released three solo CDs: First Dream; Look To The Sky; and Christmas Presence.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I joined my high school jazz band on lead alto sax, and discovered that music was challenging and liberating beyond anything else I'd experienced to that point in life.
Your sound and approach to music: Playing music requires the ability to express oneself, collaborate with your fellow musicians, and communicate with your audience. It begins with your individual tone color, distinctive and yet responsive to the sounds of others.
Your teaching approach: Discover who they are and where they are headed in music and in life, recognize their strengths and limitations, and guide them by serving their needs above your own.
Your dream band:
I would love to play with Hubert Laws, Brian Blade
Road story: Your best or worst experience: Best experience: playing with my Brazilian group, Trilogia, in New York's Greenwich Village, when a guy sitting at a table in the back of the room came up to us in the break, saying "I like your music and I'm going to come back to hear you." The guy was Ornette Coleman
Worst experience: getting a horrible sunburn on a tour of Ecuador with the Tito Puente Band, then driving all night through the mountains on bumpy roads to get to the next day's gig...
Visiones in New York Citygood treatment, regular gig, complete artistic freedom.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?Four Colors, featuring my four-flute group of the same name, because I could arrange some great standards and originals for four outstanding players (plus rhythm section) and communicate the rapport we had built up over many rehearsals and gigs.
The first Jazz album I bought was:Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Jazz is caught between the incessant drive to innovate of the real creators, and the need to survive in a world of changing musical tastes and economic turmoil.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
*Places to play;
*People willing to go out and listen to live performances;
*Exposure to good recorded jazz in schools, on radio, over the internet;
*Musicians willing and able to make the financial sacrifices necessary to develop their art, yet with the open-mindedness necessary to develop their craft through playing in many different situations.
What is in the near future? I have just released a new CD of jazz and Latin arrangements of Christmas carols, called Christmas Presence, featuring some of the top jazz musicians in Tokyo, Japan where I've been living for the past 11 years.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: music minister in a church.