Michael Jefry Stevens

Michael Jefry Stevens

 Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA
BandJazzAvant-garde

With over 20 years of performing together this powerful acoustic NYC based jazz ensemble is one of the premier working modern jazz groups on today's international scene. The ensemble performs exclusively original music by Mr. Stevens and Mr. Fonda in either trio or quartet format!

Biography

Over the past 35 years Pianist/Composer Michael Jefry Stevens has been associated with some of the most important figures in modern jazz. Beginning with his first CD release in 1991 as a member of Mark Whitecage's Liquid Time Group, Mr. Stevens has been in the forefront of the NYC improvised music scene. Between 1988-1990 he co-led the now legendary "Mosaic Sextet" with Dave Douglas. This group included Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Rabinowitz on bassoon, and the rhythm section of Harvey Sorgen on drums and Joe Fonda on bass. Their "Today This Moment" CD release on Konnex Records and re-release on GM Recordings is considered one of the classic modern jazz recordings of the last 25 years. This rhythm section went on to become the nucleus for Mr. Stevens working quartet the Fonda/Stevens Group. Since the quartet's inception in 1993, the Fonda/Stevens Group has released 10 cds, repeatedly toured Europe and is one of the premier working modern jazz groups on the international scene. Mr. Stevens also began a very fruitful and fulfilling relationship with Leo Records with his duo "Haiku" CD release in 1994, featuring Mark Feldman on violin. These piano/violin improvisations proved to be a pivotal link between Mr. Stevens work in both the composed and improvised music worlds. Mr. Stevens has currently released nine cd's on Leo Records, including "Elements" with bassist Dominic Duval, and "Twelve Improvisations" with the Fonda/Stevens Group. To date he has released 52 cds.

Michael Jefry Stevens has composed over 400 works for various ensembles, including big band, string quartet, music for voice, music for solo instruments and various small group compositions. Mr. Stevens was the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow at "The MacDowell Colony" in the summer of 2000, received 2nd prize in the prestigious Monaco International Jazz Composition in 1998, and was most recently a composer fellow at the Centrum Arts Colony in Port Townsend, WA in June 2005. In 2007 he received a Professional Development Support Grant from the Tennesee Artos Commission. He has been Composer-in-Residence at Virginia Intermont College (1999) where he scored music in collaboration with the dance department and was composer -in-residence at the Oxford Music Academy Summer workshop in 2002. He is currently on the music faculty of Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and is artist-in-residence every November at the jazz workshop at EMU in La Plata, Argentina.

In 1999 Mr. Stevens began the Conference Call Quartet, featuring his partner of many years, bassist Joe Fonda, in collaboration with German saxophonist Gebhard Ullmann and currently featuring George Schuller on drums. This quartet has released 4 cd's, including their latest CD "LIve at the Outpost Performance Space" on 482 Records (2005). The Conference Call Quartet has appeared in the past year at the Bolzano Jazz Festival in Italy, the Nattjazz festival in Norway and the Braga Jazz Festival in Portugal. Their upcoming CD is scheduled for release on Nottwo Records in early 2008.

A proponent of the philosophy that there are only 2 kinds of music "good and bad", Mr. Stevens has also been working in a standard jazz piano trio setting for the past 16 years. His collaborative trio "Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson" has released 5 cd's on Imaginary Jazz and toured Europe and the United States continuously for the past decade. They have worked with such jazz luminaries as Steve Turre, Cecil Bridgewater and Valery Ponamerev and they continue to expand and evolve in the tradition of the jazz piano trio.

Michael Jefry Stevens continues to explore new musical avenues and associations. His new "In Transit" Quartet, featuring drummer Dieter Ulrich, Bassist Daniel Studer and saxophonist Juerg Solothurnmann was recently recorded by Swiss Radio in Zurich and released on Unit Records in Switzerland. Since 2005 he has released 2 cds on the Polish Nottwo Record Label: Decade featuring the Sorgen-Rust-Stevens Trio and most recently the Fonda/Stevens Group "TRIO" CD. Other new projects include a recent duo recording featuring Serbian violist Szilard Mezei and a new quartet project "Eastern Boundary" featuring Hungarian drummer Balazs Bagyi and Hungarian saxophonist Mihaly Borbely.


Discography

Mark Whitecage and Liquid Time
Acoustic Records 1990

The Lily White Band "From Truth to Fiction"
Knitting Factory 1994

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson "One of a Kind"
Imaginary Jazz 1995

Michael Jefry Stevens/Mark Feldman, "Haiku" Leo Records 1995

The Fonda/Stevens Group "The Wish"
Music and Arts 1996

Michael J. Stevens/Dominic Duval Quintet
Leo Records 1996

The Lily White Band "No Pork, Long Line"
Jazz Focus Records 1997

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson "Points of View"
Imaginary Jazz 1997

The Fonda/Stevens Group "Parallel Lines"
Music and Arts 1997

The Fonda/Stevens Group "Live from Brugge"
DeWerf Records 1997

Michael Jefry Stevens "Short Stories"
Red Toucan Records 1997

Sorgen-Rust-Stevens Trio
Leo Records 1998

The Fonda/Stevens Group "Evolution"
Leo Records 1998

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson "Panorama"
Imaginary Records 1999

The Equinox Trio
Leo Records 1999

The Lily White Group "Big Blue Line"
Jazz Focus Records 1999

The Fonda/Stevens Group "Live at the Bunker"
Leo Records 2000

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson "Triologue"
Imaginary Jazz 2000

The Mosaic Sextet
GM Recording 2001

Michael Jefry Stevens "Portrait in Red"
Cactus Records 2001

The Fonda/Stevens Group "The Healing"
Leo Records 2002

Conference Call "Final Answer"
Soul Note Records 2002

Michael Jefry Stevens "Survivor’s Suite"
Jazz Halo Records 2002

Aercine "Aercine"
Drimala Records 2003

Conference Call "Variations on a Master Plan"
Leo Records 2003

Conference Call "Spirals: The Berlin Concert"
482 Records 2004

The Fonda/Stevens Group "12 Improvisations"
Leo Records 2004

Rabinowitz/Stevens "Play"
Drimala Records 2004

The Fonda/Stevens Group "Forever Real"
482 Music 2005

Michael Jefry Stevens Trio "Spirit Song"
Exit Records 2005

Sorgen-Rust-Stevens Trio "Decade"
Not Two Records

Conference Call "Live at the Outpost Performance Space" 482 Music

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson Trio "Get Out of Town"
Imaginary Records - 2007

In Transit "Moving Stills" Unit Records 2007

Griffith-Stevens Quartet "The Songbook Project"
MJS Productions 2007

The Fonda/Stevens Group "TRIO" Nottwo Records
2007

Set List

The repertoire of the various musical ensembles I perform with runs the gamut from traditional jazz standards to original musical compositions by various members of the ensemble, to completely improvised music. I have electronic press kits of each of my main ensembles and would be more than happy to email the appropriate EPK on request.

As an educator I offer the following workshops, each of which can be tailored to the experience and level of the working student ensemble.

Music Theory and Composition

Jazz Improvisation:
This workshop is for all instruments (including voice), and will concentrate on the following topics: Detailed instruction in scales, modes, triads, 7th chords, chords of higher structures (9, 11, 13), intervals, and basic instruction in formal principles of melodic and thematic development. Modal improvisation; harmonic substitution using equal division of the octave and other advanced principles; principles and practice of blues improvisation and their