Memphis-bred, Grammy-nominated bassist/composer Stephan Crump has lived in Brooklyn since 1994. An active bandleader and composer, he has released ten critically-acclaimed albums in addition to numerous film scoring contributions. As bassist, known for transforming his instrument into a speaking entity of magnetic pull, his focus on creative instrumental music has led to collaborations with many of the leading lights of his generation.
Shunning barriers of genre, Crump has performed and recorded with a diverse range of musicians, from Portishead's Dave McDonald, The Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, to Patti Austin, Jim Campilongo, Jorma Kaukonen, Lucy Kaplansky, Big Ass Truck, Sonny Fortune, and late blues legend Johnny Clyde Copeland. Currently, he can be heard as a long-standing member of Vijay Iyer Trio and Sextet, Jen Chapin Band, Ches Smith Trio, Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet, Liberty Ellman Sextet, Secret Keeper (with Mary Halvorson), his own Rosetta Trio, as well as groups with Kris Davis, Ingrid Laubrock, Cory Smythe, Eric McPherson, Mat Maneri, and Okkyung Lee.
Stephan comes from a family of architects, sculptors, painters, storytellers, musicians, civic leaders, and craftsmen. He was raised in music and the arts by his Parisian mother, an amateur pianist, and his Memphian father, an architect, painter, and jazz drummer. After six years of classical piano study and two years with the alto saxophone, he got his first bass guitar at age thirteen and spent his high school years playing in rock and funk bands around Memphis. During the summers, he worked in the studio of his uncle, Stephen, a wood sculptor.
Crump received his Bachelor of Music degree from Amherst College, where he studied under Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlin and was awarded the Sundquist Prize for performance and composition. It was at Amherst that he began his acoustic bass journey, with a focus on classical training that culminated in a year of study in Paris with Gary Karr-protégé Patrick Hardouineau. His jazz studies at Amherst included work with Max Roach, Frank Foster, and Ray Drummond.
Crump launched his solo performance career as an invited artist at the 2009 International Society of Bassists conference and has since released several recordings documenting his duo collaborations with alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, pianist James Carney, and guitarist Mary Halvorson. His all-string Rosetta Trio, with Jamie Fox and Liberty Ellman, is working toward their fourth album, while and his Rhombal quartet, with Tyshawn Sorey, Ellery Eskelin, and Adam O’Farrill, recently released its eponymous debut.
Stephan is an enthusiastic endorser of Velvet strings, Aguilar bass amplifiers, AMT acoustic bass microphones, and David Gage Czech Ease travel bass.
Stephan is an enthusiastic endorser of Velvet strings, Reverend basses, AMT acoustic
bass microphones, Aguilar bass amplifiers and David Gage's Czech Ease travel bass.
"ingenious originals" —The New Yorker
"contained soulfulness" —Downbeat
"a low-key marvel" —JazzTimes
"a title to be savored"
—The Village Voice
"bareness in emotion"
"Strong narrative sense, an unfettered conception of melody, and the confidence to
elevate improvisations to a new level of empathy...speaks softly persuasive volumes"
—Carlo Wolff, JazzTimes
"Someone's got to be the Holy Spirit, representing your faith that this jazz will
breathe...It's the bassist, of course, cutting through with big, wise, rounded notes."
—Ben Ratliff, NY Times
"Crump's bass playing and especially his soloing should be something to marvel at for
anyone who appreciates finely crafted, artistic jazz musicianship"
—Michael Nastos, All Music Guide