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Michael Jefry Stevens

66 year old professional jazz pianist/composer/bandleader.

About Me

I was born in New York City in and received my MA in Music from Queens College in 1992 where I studied with Jimmy Heath, Sir Roland Hanna, Thea Musgrave, Sol Berkowitz and Donald Byrd. I was the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow at "The MacDowell Colony" in the summer of 2000 and received 2nd prize in the prestigious Monaco International Jazz Composition. I was on the faculty of Five Towns College between 1992-95, was head of the keyboard department at the National Guitar Workshop between 1990-2002 in New Milford, CT, was on the faculty of Rhodes College (TN) between 2007-2011 and currently teach every Fall for one week at EMU conservatory in La Plata, Argentina. I have been guest clinician and artist in residence at numerous educationalinstitutions both here and abroad including the Royal Academy of Music in Arhus, Denmark, "Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City (Mexico), Arizona State University in Tempe (AZ), SUNY at New Paltz (NY), Lichtenstein Big Band Workshop in Eschen (Lichtenstein), Syracuse University (NY), The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Indiana University (Bloomington), University of Iowa (Iowa City), Northern Illinois University (DeKalb), University of Richmond (VA), University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA) and was composer in residence at Virginia Intermont College (Bristol, VA) where my music was choreographed and performed with the Dance Department. I have been and continue to be an active pianist/composer and band leader for the past 30 years. I have released over 90 cds of my original music on numerous jazz record labels including Leo Records (England), Drimala Records (VA), Soul Note Records (Italy), Konnex Records Germany), Music and Arts (CA), Cadence Records (NY), Red Toucan Records (Canada), GM Recordings (MA), 482 Music (NY), Nottwo Records (Poland) and most recently ARC recordings (USA). Over 100 of my more than 400 original composed works have been recorded and are regularly broadcast throughout the world. My music has been featured in live radio concerts throughout Europe, Japan and North America including BRTN (Belgium), Saarbrucken Rundfunk (Germany), WDR Radio (Germany), Radio Bremen (Germany), Radio Zurich (Switzerland), VPRO Radio Amsterdam (Holland), BRF Radio (Belgium), Danmarks Radio (Arhus, Denmark) and Radio Nurnberg (Germany). I currently co-lead several working musical ensembles including The Fonda/Stevens Group, Conference Call Quartet, Eastern Boundary Quartet, Generations Quartet featuring Oliver Lake, and the Core-tet featuring Dame Evelyn Glennie. I frequently tour both Europe and North America and was a featured performer this past year at several international jazz festivals including the Edgefest in Ann Arbor (MI), the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle (WA) and the Hurth Jazznacht (Hurth, Germany). In recent years I have also performed at the Guelph Jazz Festival (Canada), the Ottawa International Jazz Festival (Canada), Jazzmeille Thuringen(Germany), San Sebastian International Jazz Festival (Spain),Jazz Halo (Belgium, the Kaunas International Jazz Festival (Lithuania, the Bolzano International Jazz Festival (Italy), May Days Festival (Norway) and many others. I lived in Brooklyn, NY between 1980 and 2002. Lived in Memphis between 2002 and 2011 and currently reside in Black Mountain, NC. I continue to tour, teach and record both internationally and nationally. Currently I teach at the Asheville Music School and at my private home studio.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because it is the most free and personal expression of one's self that I have ever come across in my entire life. I was first exposed to jazz through records in high school through a good friend of mine whose father was a classical pianist. The best show I ever attended was Weather Report back in the late 1970's. The first jazz record I bought was Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue." My advice to new listeners is to go hear the music live! This art form requires a relationship between the musicians and the audience which can only take place in a live performance situation.

My Favorites

  1. Andrew Hill - anything!!!
  2. Esparanza Spalding - anything!!!!
  3. Miles Davis - Nefertitti
  4. Bill Evans - The Bill Evans Album
  5. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
  6. Bartok - Music for strings, percussion and celeste;
  7. Concerto for Orchestra
  8. Mahler - 4th Symphony (lieder)
  9. Keith Jarrett - My Song
  10. McCoy Tyner - Expansions
  11. Wayne Shorter - most everything
  12. Herbie Hancock - The Prisoner

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