Jason Steele Ensemble
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Jason Steele Ensemble

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Apr
13
Jason Steele Ensemble @ TBA

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Apr
12
Jason Steele Ensemble @ TBA

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Apr
11
Jason Steele Ensemble @ TBA

Louisville/Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Louisville/Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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Music

Press


Date: May 06, 2007
Jazz guitarist Jason Steele is making one hell of a musical statement with his all original CD project. Jason's music kicks butt in subtle ways, but his art is also an authoritative commentary on the many ways original music is written & inspired through man's heart & soul. He handles the technical & expressive arena of composing quite well with mood, structure, appropriate tonality, phrasing, et al. In this regard. I relegate my readers to his compelling musicial treatises. Both ''Horn Interlude'' & ''Since Forever'' are special in that the listener will (by default) turn to this man's collosal corpus of music with delight & enthusiasm. Last, I pay kudos to his sidemen who without their help & attentiveness to Jason's craft, this disc could not have been brought to fruition. Bravo Jason! Bravo again guys!!

George W. Carroll/the Musicians' Ombudsman
- ejazznews.com


Date: May 06, 2007
Jazz guitarist Jason Steele is making one hell of a musical statement with his all original CD project. Jason's music kicks butt in subtle ways, but his art is also an authoritative commentary on the many ways original music is written & inspired through man's heart & soul. He handles the technical & expressive arena of composing quite well with mood, structure, appropriate tonality, phrasing, et al. In this regard. I relegate my readers to his compelling musicial treatises. Both ''Horn Interlude'' & ''Since Forever'' are special in that the listener will (by default) turn to this man's collosal corpus of music with delight & enthusiasm. Last, I pay kudos to his sidemen who without their help & attentiveness to Jason's craft, this disc could not have been brought to fruition. Bravo Jason! Bravo again guys!!

George W. Carroll/the Musicians' Ombudsman
- ejazznews.com


Review by Brad Walseth (jazzChicago.net) 5/7/07
"Some Wonderful Moment" is the debut album from the Jason Steele Ensemble, and it is a wonderful listening experience indeed. Between keyboardist Keith Johnson's solo electric piano versions of the tune "i" that bookend the recording, the listener is transported into a mysterious and mellifluous musical melange created by guitarist Steele and his cohorts.

Jason Steele has a unique approach to the guitar in that he uses deceptive subtlety to urge the music forward. His lines waft to and fro like the movement of seaweed in a rippling tidepool. His arpeggiated voicings hint at folk and rock, reminding one a bit of Bill Frisell. Steele's quiet lines are haunting in their persistance, and he is expert at using silence as a tool - often patiently sitting out and allowing his bandmates the opportunity to stretch out before fading back in with the theme.

The members of the ensemble take advantages of their opportunities. The aforementioned Johnson shows both creativity and taste in his shimmering Fender Rhodes pastels. The primary soloist - cornetist Ron Miles has worked with Frisell in the past, and his sensitive, exhilarating horn playing (clear at times, rasping at other times) fits perfectly with Steele's understated guitar. John Sclar and Tim Sullivan add in some frisky tenor sax work (the latter on bass clarinet as well) - and one of the highlights is their duet solo on the hypnotic "No Words." Bassist Matt Ulery is an important contributor to the overall sound, and chips in a couple of well played solos; while drummer Charles Rumback's pulse is subdued, but active underneath. This group is augmented by Thad Franklin's fluid flugelhorn on a couple tunes.

"Unexpected You" is 11:10 and provides a pattern that is repeated in that the main theme is subverted during the lengthy mid-section (Ulery solos here), and introduces Steele - who doesn't appear until 3-1/2 minutes into the album. "i" provides a showcase for solos by Ulery and Miles, and the humble Steele's only solo of the album (and a tasty one at that). Meanwhile "Proceed to Numb" is 12:18 of a droning theme that morphs into a free form middle section before returning. "Horn Interlude" allows Miles more blowing room, while "Since Forever" could almost be a pop song from the '60s done as post-modern jazz; it is luscious and unforgettable. And certainly there is an indie rock/folk influence afoot, as is indicated by the cover of the late Elliott Smith's "Alphabet Town."

Delightfully perverse and beautifully morose at times, Steele's songs move from pensive contemplation into radical avant-garde blowing and back again without losing a beat, with Steele's floating motion providing the primary melodic impetus. For those who believe jazz is a dying form, Steele and his ensemble offer up this album, strung together with many wonderful moments, as a convincing response.

- jazzChicago.net


Review by Brad Walseth (jazzChicago.net) 5/7/07
"Some Wonderful Moment" is the debut album from the Jason Steele Ensemble, and it is a wonderful listening experience indeed. Between keyboardist Keith Johnson's solo electric piano versions of the tune "i" that bookend the recording, the listener is transported into a mysterious and mellifluous musical melange created by guitarist Steele and his cohorts.

Jason Steele has a unique approach to the guitar in that he uses deceptive subtlety to urge the music forward. His lines waft to and fro like the movement of seaweed in a rippling tidepool. His arpeggiated voicings hint at folk and rock, reminding one a bit of Bill Frisell. Steele's quiet lines are haunting in their persistance, and he is expert at using silence as a tool - often patiently sitting out and allowing his bandmates the opportunity to stretch out before fading back in with the theme.

The members of the ensemble take advantages of their opportunities. The aforementioned Johnson shows both creativity and taste in his shimmering Fender Rhodes pastels. The primary soloist - cornetist Ron Miles has worked with Frisell in the past, and his sensitive, exhilarating horn playing (clear at times, rasping at other times) fits perfectly with Steele's understated guitar. John Sclar and Tim Sullivan add in some frisky tenor sax work (the latter on bass clarinet as well) - and one of the highlights is their duet solo on the hypnotic "No Words." Bassist Matt Ulery is an important contributor to the overall sound, and chips in a couple of well played solos; while drummer Charles Rumback's pulse is subdued, but active underneath. This group is augmented by Thad Franklin's fluid flugelhorn on a couple tunes.

"Unexpected You" is 11:10 and provides a pattern that is repeated in that the main theme is subverted during the lengthy mid-section (Ulery solos here), and introduces Steele - who doesn't appear until 3-1/2 minutes into the album. "i" provides a showcase for solos by Ulery and Miles, and the humble Steele's only solo of the album (and a tasty one at that). Meanwhile "Proceed to Numb" is 12:18 of a droning theme that morphs into a free form middle section before returning. "Horn Interlude" allows Miles more blowing room, while "Since Forever" could almost be a pop song from the '60s done as post-modern jazz; it is luscious and unforgettable. And certainly there is an indie rock/folk influence afoot, as is indicated by the cover of the late Elliott Smith's "Alphabet Town."

Delightfully perverse and beautifully morose at times, Steele's songs move from pensive contemplation into radical avant-garde blowing and back again without losing a beat, with Steele's floating motion providing the primary melodic impetus. For those who believe jazz is a dying form, Steele and his ensemble offer up this album, strung together with many wonderful moments, as a convincing response.

- jazzChicago.net


As I was listening to "Unexpected You", the first full length track that opens up The Jason Steele Ensemble's Some Wonderful Moment (ears & eyes), the first thing I thought of was Joe Zawinul and his style of composition and tones. The band, fronted by guitarist Jason Steele, are very well versed in In A Silent Way-era Miles Davis, but "No Words" also sounds more like a jazzy spin of progressive rock.

The sounds these guys create sound more like a full orchestra than it does an octet, but perhaps that's why Steele called it an "ensemble", the sound is so full and alive that you have to keep on looking at the CD cover to go "okay, these are eight guys... right?" The sound they create are as one, unified as a brotherhood, but when Steele takes a step into the spotlight, it's all over. If Meddle-era Pink Floyd were jamming with guys on Impulse, it would sound a little like this. Even with 9 indexed tracks, one could easily listen to them in one sitting as one movement, carefully weaving its way through the fabric. There are three songs on this, each one between 11 and 13 minutes, and the level of virtuosity in this band is just sick. The cornet of Ron Miles and the trumpet work of Thad Franklin, along with the saxophones of Josh Sclar and Tim Sullivan, are executed remarkably, and there's a huge amount of dedication in sounding good and making these songs sound great. It is guitar-driven, but you also have seven other musicians who are driven to play the music with commitment in mind, and when they do, it ends up creating a beast that likes to pop out of its shed. A wonderful experience.


John Book 5/14/07
Musicforamerica.org
- musicforamerica.org


As I was listening to "Unexpected You", the first full length track that opens up The Jason Steele Ensemble's Some Wonderful Moment (ears & eyes), the first thing I thought of was Joe Zawinul and his style of composition and tones. The band, fronted by guitarist Jason Steele, are very well versed in In A Silent Way-era Miles Davis, but "No Words" also sounds more like a jazzy spin of progressive rock.

The sounds these guys create sound more like a full orchestra than it does an octet, but perhaps that's why Steele called it an "ensemble", the sound is so full and alive that you have to keep on looking at the CD cover to go "okay, these are eight guys... right?" The sound they create are as one, unified as a brotherhood, but when Steele takes a step into the spotlight, it's all over. If Meddle-era Pink Floyd were jamming with guys on Impulse, it would sound a little like this. Even with 9 indexed tracks, one could easily listen to them in one sitting as one movement, carefully weaving its way through the fabric. There are three songs on this, each one between 11 and 13 minutes, and the level of virtuosity in this band is just sick. The cornet of Ron Miles and the trumpet work of Thad Franklin, along with the saxophones of Josh Sclar and Tim Sullivan, are executed remarkably, and there's a huge amount of dedication in sounding good and making these songs sound great. It is guitar-driven, but you also have seven other musicians who are driven to play the music with commitment in mind, and when they do, it ends up creating a beast that likes to pop out of its shed. A wonderful experience.


John Book 5/14/07
Musicforamerica.org
- musicforamerica.org


JASON STEELE ENSEMBLE
Some Wonderful Moment (ears&eyes)

Guitarist Jason Steele takes only one solo on his debut album. It’s gentle, minimalist, sneaks in quietly and is gone in a flash. That says a lot about his collectivist approach, which emphasizes the organic, shifting sound of his octet as it spirals through a series of brooding, cinematic themes. Cornetist Ron Miles gets the spotlight on most tracks: He and saxophonist Josh Sclar offer introspective solos but also take things outside in some surprisingly abstract breaks.

-Forrest Dylan Bryant
JazzTimes
- JazzTimes/September 2007


3 1/2 Stars

“Chicago guitarist Jason Steele has produced a standout session. Steele writes languid whole-note melodies with room to maneuver, but the ensemble never takes things too far afield. This is deliberate, studied music, perhaps a bit too much so; you yearn for the players to cut loose.

Only “Proceed To Numb” stokes the fire a bit, and it never fully ignites. Mostly, Steele leads his brass-heavy group at a measured pace,with Ron Miles featured heavily—his clear, piercing cornet lines dominate the selections to the degree that you might easily mistake this for his session. Thad Franklin also scores some rarified flugelhorn and trumpet leads, and Josh Sclar and Tim Sullivan step forward with powerful statements.

If the rhythm section doesn’t jump out, it’s because the slow tempos keep their contributions muted. Beauty is valued over intensity. The group seems in telepathic lockstep. The melancholy, haunting album is anchored by the 12-minute slow vamp “No Words” and the recurring theme “i.” Only on the latter does Steele emerge out of the shadows. Otherwise, he lets his compositions and band mates do the talking. Such rare selflessness is one of many reasons to admire this subtle debut.”
—Jeff McCord
- Downbeat Magazine


Evanston’s annual Fountain Square Arts Festival was the scene of some exciting new jazz sounds, Sunday June 24, as the Jason Steele Ensemble presented an entrancing concert for attendees. Appearing with almost a completely revamped band than the one that recorded the recent Cd release on Ears & Eyes Records — “Some Wonderful Moment,” (SWM) — see our review here — guitarist Steele and his fellow musicians performed several of the cuts from that exceptional release – along with some newer and older tunes and some unusual covers, and their unique harmonies and inspired playing seemed to resonate well with the arts festival audience.

With a sound as fresh as the wind off of Lake Michigan, Steele’s ensemble represents a welcome new and original direction for jazz. Steadfast drummer Charles Rumback (the only holdover from the previous band) and Steele provide the equilibrium, with the guitarist’s subtle iterations often providing the tonal center around which the soloists navigate. And the players proved worthy to the task, with saxophonist Charles Gorczyuski nearly searing the atmosphere and trumpeter James Davis launching gloriously refulgent lines. Patrick Mulcahy also showed intelligent and energetic chops on the upright bass. It was a true pleasure to see such talented young musicians playing thoughtful, inventive music so well.

Opening up with the “Horn Interlude” from “SWM,” the band then dug into “Since Forever,” a wonderful piece written by cornetist Ron Miles from the same release. Making my way through the crowd to the bandstand, I was only able to catch part of the song, but it seemed well performed, with Davis ably handling the Ron Miles parts. A new tune — “When the Angels Fly Around You,” followed and proved clearly that the future appears bright for this young composer, as the interesting number bristles with imagination while carrying forward with the signature Steele sound.

Two more excellent cuts from SWM — “No Words” and “Proceed to Numb” were thankfully included, and it was quite exciting hearing these great songs played so well live by focused and serious musicians. Both feature gorgeous horn arrangements, Steele’s somewhat Frisell-ish guitarwork, some ferocious solos and plenty of surprising twists. An older piece — “Amy Little” showed Steels at his most melodic and seemed almost charmingly innocent, while another new tune — “New Professor” displayed some Latin touches before metamorphosing into other forms. Solos from all the players throughout the entire set were uniformly excellent, and these young artists deserve praise for their hard work and cohesiveness.

This exciting set was rounded off with a tasty version of “Softly as a Morning Sunrise,” along with alt-pop artist Sufjan Stevens’ “Seven Swans.” That Steele and his band would cover Stevens was not a huge surprise considering the version of Elliott Smith’s “Alphabet Town” on SWM, but the fact that they did perform this song speaks volumes for the breadth of Steele’s musical tastes and his courage to expand upon the sometimes stifling nature of the jazz idiom.
- jazzChicago.net


CD Title: Some Wonderful Moment
Year: 2007
Record Label: Ears & Eyes Records

Style: Fusion

Musicians: Jason Steele (guitar), Ron Miles (cornet), Thad Franklin (flugelhorn/trumpet), Josh Sclar, Tim Sullivan (tenor saxophone), Keith Johnson (fender rhodes), Matt Ulery (bass), Charles Rumback (drums)

Review:

As a connoisseur of jazz and as an individual who critiques hundreds of albums per year, I have come to realize that jazz is a mosaic tapestry that is filled with artistic impressionism. Many artists come and go during the course of a year and few leave behind anything worth remembering; those who do, have messages to bring that are truly “Kodak moments.” With that in mind, I have to acknowledge the Jason Steele Ensemble as a group that treats jazz as an art form as they traverse the relevance of their music as something more than elevator music.

‘Some Wonderful Moment’ is the debut release for this superb group of musicians; who in their own way have found a niche in the realm of artistic impressionism. With guitarist Jason Steele serving as the leader, he and his band of merry men have formulated an excursion into fusion jazz that is augmented by a hint of free avant-garde stylized music. Jason’s grasp of his chosen craft is sometimes subtle and carries with it a high degree of improvisational charisma. Texture is added to the CD with Steele’s inclusion of cornetist Ron Miles, saxophonists John Sclar, Tim Sullivan, bassist Matt Ulery, Thad Franklin on flugelhorn and Charles Rumback on drums, Collectively, this band carries the idea of fusion/avant-garde jazz to a whole new level of enthused panoramic proportions.
When listening to ‘Some Wonderful Moment,’ it can be said that the Jason Steele Ensemble has presented a new voice in the midst of musical chaos. Their solitary approach to their music isolates an aesthetic quality in jazz that is seldom seen. The manner in which they are able to draw their listeners in is incredible. Overall, this debut release from the Steele Ensemble is worth a listen as it opens up the expansive possibilities of artistic impressionism.

Reviewed by: Sheldon T. Nunn (jazzReview.com)
- jazzReview.com


Evanston’s annual Fountain Square Arts Festival was the scene of some exciting new jazz sounds, Sunday June 24, as the Jason Steele Ensemble presented an entrancing concert for attendees. Appearing with almost a completely revamped band than the one that recorded the recent Cd release on Ears & Eyes Records — “Some Wonderful Moment,” (SWM) — see our review here — guitarist Steele and his fellow musicians performed several of the cuts from that exceptional release – along with some newer and older tunes and some unusual covers, and their unique harmonies and inspired playing seemed to resonate well with the arts festival audience.

With a sound as fresh as the wind off of Lake Michigan, Steele’s ensemble represents a welcome new and original direction for jazz. Steadfast drummer Charles Rumback (the only holdover from the previous band) and Steele provide the equilibrium, with the guitarist’s subtle iterations often providing the tonal center around which the soloists navigate. And the players proved worthy to the task, with saxophonist Charles Gorczyuski nearly searing the atmosphere and trumpeter James Davis launching gloriously refulgent lines. Patrick Mulcahy also showed intelligent and energetic chops on the upright bass. It was a true pleasure to see such talented young musicians playing thoughtful, inventive music so well.

Opening up with the “Horn Interlude” from “SWM,” the band then dug into “Since Forever,” a wonderful piece written by cornetist Ron Miles from the same release. Making my way through the crowd to the bandstand, I was only able to catch part of the song, but it seemed well performed, with Davis ably handling the Ron Miles parts. A new tune — “When the Angels Fly Around You,” followed and proved clearly that the future appears bright for this young composer, as the interesting number bristles with imagination while carrying forward with the signature Steele sound.

Two more excellent cuts from SWM — “No Words” and “Proceed to Numb” were thankfully included, and it was quite exciting hearing these great songs played so well live by focused and serious musicians. Both feature gorgeous horn arrangements, Steele’s somewhat Frisell-ish guitarwork, some ferocious solos and plenty of surprising twists. An older piece — “Amy Little” showed Steels at his most melodic and seemed almost charmingly innocent, while another new tune — “New Professor” displayed some Latin touches before metamorphosing into other forms. Solos from all the players throughout the entire set were uniformly excellent, and these young artists deserve praise for their hard work and cohesiveness.

This exciting set was rounded off with a tasty version of “Softly as a Morning Sunrise,” along with alt-pop artist Sufjan Stevens’ “Seven Swans.” That Steele and his band would cover Stevens was not a huge surprise considering the version of Elliott Smith’s “Alphabet Town” on SWM, but the fact that they did perform this song speaks volumes for the breadth of Steele’s musical tastes and his courage to expand upon the sometimes stifling nature of the jazz idiom.
- jazzChicago.net


Jason Steele Ensemble

Some Wonderful Moment
Eyes & Ears Records ee:07-001

Personnel: Jason Steele, guitar; Ron Miles, cornet; Thad Franklin, flugelhorn, trumpet; Josh Sclar, tenor sax; Tim Sullivan, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Keith Johnson, Fender Rhodes; Matt Ulery, bass; Charles Rumback, drums.

Tracks: “i” (solo version I); Unexpected You; No Words; “i”; Proceed to Numb; Horn Interlude; Since Forever; Alphabet Town; ‘I” (solo version II).

Recorded and mixed at Engine Recording Studios, Chicago , Illinois , April 21-23, 2005 , by Matthew Gagnon; mastered at Kingsize Sound Labs by Mike Hagler; produced by Jason Steele and Charles Rumback.

Formed in September of 2004, The Jason Steele Ensemble showcases Jason Steele's original compositions and highlights the talents of other Chicago area jazz musicians. Some Wonderful Moment, the ensemble's debut release, was recorded shortly after their inception and its influences range from Miles Davis to Elliot Smith.

Now, you may not catch Jason Steele around Kansas City any time real soon. The Jason Steele Ensemble, a jazz, indie rock, and improvisation-influenced group, is based out of Chicago . Steele also has a side project there called Remington 2+2: a free improv quartet with fellow guitarist Bill McKay and two mystery guests at each show. Originally from Colorado Springs , Steele attended Hutchison Community College in Hutchinson , Kansas , where he was under the tutelage of trumpeter/educator Bryce Luty and drummer Eugene “Bones” Hutchinson.

Steele then received his B.M. in Jazz Composition from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University . During this time, Steele performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as festivals in New Orleans , Reno , and Wichita . He also began composing for large and small ensembles, culminating his studies with an arrangement of “Unexpected You”, an original work that you will find on this release. His bandmates all have impressive resumes with contacts such as Bill Frisell, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, and Clark Terry. Also, a few of the bandmates have strong ties to the Kansas City area with Keith Johnson, Charles Rumback, and Joshua Sclar hailing from the region.

Serving as bookends for Some Wonderful Moment is “i”, both solo endeavors featuring keyboardist Keith Johnson's solo electric piano. Each takes the listener into a unique musical cacophony. The opening track, “Unexpected You”, is the first full-length track. The quiet lines here are haunting, with Steele—as he does on most of the tracks—sitting out while his bandmates are given the opportunity to stretch their instruments for a moment. With “No Words” you get a touch of a late 1960s Miles Davis fusion composition with some progressive rock seeping in. The result is very entertaining.

“Proceed to Numb” begins with a droning and somber trumpet solo by Thad Franklin, but transforms, in the middle section of the twelve-minute tune, into a free-form free-for-all before regaining its composure at the end. The beat near the end, especially the underlying drums, is very reminiscent of Abbey Road -era Beatles. “Since Forever” has some clear 1960s pop flavor to it and, as indicated by the cover of the late Elliot Smith's “ Alphabet Town ”, Jason Steele brings his heavy indie rock and folk influences to the forefront.

The Jason Steele Ensemble has a very unique approach to their art. Their work is both morose and moving at the same time. They are easily able to float from pop and indie rock influences straight into avant-garde and fusion jazz without skipping a beat. While the compositions are guitar-driven, there are seven other bandmates who are allowed to take a front seat in each. Every one of them combines to create almost an orchestral spirit rather than an octet. The sounds piped out of your speakers are alive and have meaning. If you get the chance to grab Some Wonderful Moment, do so.

— Tristan Smith
JazzKC.org….jazz ambassadors mag
- Jazz Ambassadors Magazine


Jason Steele Ensemble

Some Wonderful Moment
Eyes & Ears Records ee:07-001

Personnel: Jason Steele, guitar; Ron Miles, cornet; Thad Franklin, flugelhorn, trumpet; Josh Sclar, tenor sax; Tim Sullivan, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Keith Johnson, Fender Rhodes; Matt Ulery, bass; Charles Rumback, drums.

Tracks: “i” (solo version I); Unexpected You; No Words; “i”; Proceed to Numb; Horn Interlude; Since Forever; Alphabet Town; ‘I” (solo version II).

Recorded and mixed at Engine Recording Studios, Chicago , Illinois , April 21-23, 2005 , by Matthew Gagnon; mastered at Kingsize Sound Labs by Mike Hagler; produced by Jason Steele and Charles Rumback.

Formed in September of 2004, The Jason Steele Ensemble showcases Jason Steele's original compositions and highlights the talents of other Chicago area jazz musicians. Some Wonderful Moment, the ensemble's debut release, was recorded shortly after their inception and its influences range from Miles Davis to Elliot Smith.

Now, you may not catch Jason Steele around Kansas City any time real soon. The Jason Steele Ensemble, a jazz, indie rock, and improvisation-influenced group, is based out of Chicago . Steele also has a side project there called Remington 2+2: a free improv quartet with fellow guitarist Bill McKay and two mystery guests at each show. Originally from Colorado Springs , Steele attended Hutchison Community College in Hutchinson , Kansas , where he was under the tutelage of trumpeter/educator Bryce Luty and drummer Eugene “Bones” Hutchinson.

Steele then received his B.M. in Jazz Composition from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University . During this time, Steele performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as festivals in New Orleans , Reno , and Wichita . He also began composing for large and small ensembles, culminating his studies with an arrangement of “Unexpected You”, an original work that you will find on this release. His bandmates all have impressive resumes with contacts such as Bill Frisell, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, and Clark Terry. Also, a few of the bandmates have strong ties to the Kansas City area with Keith Johnson, Charles Rumback, and Joshua Sclar hailing from the region.

Serving as bookends for Some Wonderful Moment is “i”, both solo endeavors featuring keyboardist Keith Johnson's solo electric piano. Each takes the listener into a unique musical cacophony. The opening track, “Unexpected You”, is the first full-length track. The quiet lines here are haunting, with Steele—as he does on most of the tracks—sitting out while his bandmates are given the opportunity to stretch their instruments for a moment. With “No Words” you get a touch of a late 1960s Miles Davis fusion composition with some progressive rock seeping in. The result is very entertaining.

“Proceed to Numb” begins with a droning and somber trumpet solo by Thad Franklin, but transforms, in the middle section of the twelve-minute tune, into a free-form free-for-all before regaining its composure at the end. The beat near the end, especially the underlying drums, is very reminiscent of Abbey Road -era Beatles. “Since Forever” has some clear 1960s pop flavor to it and, as indicated by the cover of the late Elliot Smith's “ Alphabet Town ”, Jason Steele brings his heavy indie rock and folk influences to the forefront.

The Jason Steele Ensemble has a very unique approach to their art. Their work is both morose and moving at the same time. They are easily able to float from pop and indie rock influences straight into avant-garde and fusion jazz without skipping a beat. While the compositions are guitar-driven, there are seven other bandmates who are allowed to take a front seat in each. Every one of them combines to create almost an orchestral spirit rather than an octet. The sounds piped out of your speakers are alive and have meaning. If you get the chance to grab Some Wonderful Moment, do so.

— Tristan Smith
JazzKC.org….jazz ambassadors mag
- Jazz Ambassadors Magazine


“Jason’s compositions are evocative and hypnotic, lulling the listener into another world” - Nanette Sawyer (Acme Art Works) - Nannette Sawyer


“Jason’s compositions are evocative and hypnotic, lulling the listener into another world” - Nanette Sawyer (Acme Art Works) - Nannette Sawyer


Discography

Jason Steele Ensemble - Some Wonderful Moment (ears&eyes Records)

Photos

Bio

The complexity of Steele’s music lies in his ability to align disparate sounds, tones and rhythms into a singular vision. He demonstrates that musical exploration need not always be awkward and unsettling, but can be joyful, compelling and affirming.

Within a jazz framework, his compositions delve into the sonic spaces of post-rock, fusion, pop and ambience through ambitious improvisations. Unlike much contemporary jazz and improv, Steele’s music is inviting and warm – dissonances feel comfortable and the unfamiliar quickly become friendly.

Many of Jason’s steady accomplishments over the last decade have been made in the colligate arena, including being selected for the IAJE All-Star Community College big band and receiving numerous awards from college, national, and international jazz festivals.

Jason received his B.M. in Jazz Composition from the Chicago College of Performing Arts in 2004. While attending C.C.P.A., he began composing for large and small ensembles, culminating his studies with an arrangement of his original work, “Unexpected You,” for an eighteen piece jazz orchestra.

Soon after completing his studies, Jason formed his own group, the Jason Steele Ensemble, and in March 2007 released his debut CD, Some Wonderful Moment. The recording features special guest Ron Miles, a Denver-based cornetist known not only for work under his own name, but also for his collaborations with such jazz luminaries as Bill Frisell, Don Byron, and Wayne Horvitz. Since its release, Some Wonderful Moment has received a great deal of positive attention in the jazz world; recent reviews include: Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times, and Jazz Review.

“…a standout session.” – Downbeat Magazine