Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Take Five With Alan Steward

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Alan Steward Meet Alan Steward:

I started making music when I was 13 and I was always fascinated by technology. In my early years performing, I traveled with 12 keyboards and drum machines and even though I was considered an electronic artist, There was always a good dose of funk and soul in my music. Today, my style can best be described as electronic world funk fusion.


Hammond B3, piano, synthesizers, acoustic and electric guitars, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences? When I was 13, my music teacher kicked me out. "You will never learn how to play the guitar, save your money," Well, I've been a professional musician ever since. My influences are too many to mention, from Jimmy Smith to Frank Zappa to George Clinton.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I found out they get all the girls. Well, seriously, you're always told get a job doing what you really like to do, that has always been music.

Your sound and approach to music: I am constantly trying to break down the boundaries imposed on us by styles and genres. My music encompasses jazz, funk, rock, pop, electronica, world music, reggae and probably every other style known to man. My sound could be pure George Clinton funk in one song, smooth jazz in the next and "Enigma on Steroids" in the next song. It's a jazzy funky mix of world music and electronica.

Your teaching approach: I don't teach music. I think many artists that I produced during my career have picked up on my approach to sound and technology and have picked up a few tricks here and there.

Your dream band:

Omar Hakim or Billy Cobham on drums;

George Duke and Jan Hammer on keyboards;

Marcus Miller on bass;

Jeff Beck and Stevie Vai on guitars;

Syreeta Wright, Siedah Garrett and Randy Crawford on vocals.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: My first live gig ever was on my 15th birthday. We played with such enthusiasm (and obviously volume) that the wallpaper came off the walls during the final song. Forget playing in front of 40,000 people, this is one gig I never forget.

Favorite venue:

I played in a small club in Germany a long time ago. From the minute I walked through the doors, the owner announced to everybody in the club "the star is here" and "we have a star performing tonight." This was at a time where I was pretty much totally unknown and had not recorded a single album. It made my day. I would love to come back there one day (now that I'm still far away from being a star).

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I love "Global Warning" from my Pop Icon album. That song just came together so perfectly. All the instruments blend so well, the song got so much power.

As a producer, I love it when I hear a song with a perfect sonic balance and this song got it. It's one of the more popular songs with my fans too and I think it got a great balance of pure power techno and ethnic sweetness.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Jimmy Smith—Live.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I hope to break out of the box. Every musician is put into a box by imposing genres and musical styles onto them, and I make albums that can't be that easily categorized and boxed. My music's got to have some funk in it but from that point...anything goes.

Did you know...

That I once played guitar in an Eric Clapton tribute band and keyboards for an Elvis impersonator? And actually, it was fun!

CDs you are listening to now:

Black Eyed Peas, Boom Boom Pow;

Daft Punk, Technologic and Live 2007;

Experience, Prodigy;

Natasha Atlas, The best of Natasha Atlas;

Bally Sagoo, Bollywood Flashback.

Desert Island picks:

Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer, Live (Epic);

George Duke, Reach for It (Epic); Frank Zappa, The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (Barking Pumpkin);

Frank Zappa, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore - all five volumes (Barking Pumpkin);

Narada Michael Walden, Victory;

Jeff Beck, Beck Ola (Epic);

George Clinton, R&B Skeletons in the Closet.

(Of course I hope that I'll have an iPod with 1,000 songs on the desert island, it would help pass the time).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I am glad to see that jazz is not stagnant and the spirit of fusion is still alive. I hope that jazz always remains open to experimentation and new influences.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? To break barriers. Not to be afraid to mix things up and to fuse jazz with what's going on in the popular music scene today. In the '80s fusion was probably at its strongest with people like George Duke, but I hope that jazz musicians are not afraid to show up on stage at major festivals and show the world that today's jazz is very much alive and not your father's jazz anymore.


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Take Five with Ryan Slatko Take Five With... Take Five with Ryan Slatko
by Ryan Slatko
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Take Five with Jose Negroni Take Five With... Take Five with Jose Negroni
by Jose Negroni
Published: November 16, 2017
Read Take Five With Sylvia Brooks Take Five With... Take Five With Sylvia Brooks
by Sylvia Brooks
Published: October 1, 2017
Read Take Five with Debora Galan Take Five With... Take Five with Debora Galan
by Debora Galan
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Take Five with Ralph Hepola Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017
Read Take Five with Dave Potter Take Five With... Take Five with Dave Potter
by David Potter
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Take Five with Ralph Hepola" Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Take Five with Julian Hartwell" Take Five With... Take Five with Julian Hartwell
by Julian Hartwell
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Take Five with Mike Casey" Take Five With... Take Five with Mike Casey
by Mike Casey
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Take Five With Sylvia Brooks" Take Five With... Take Five With Sylvia Brooks
by Sylvia Brooks
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Take Five with Jose Negroni" Take Five With... Take Five with Jose Negroni
by Jose Negroni
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Take Five with Brian Kastan" Take Five With... Take Five with Brian Kastan
by Brian Kastan
Published: March 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!