Michael Jefry Stevens
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Michael Jefry Stevens

Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States | INDIE

Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
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Michael Jefry Stevens
Quotations Page

"Stevens leads the way with a solo full of block chords, melodic twists and harmonic questions."
Dennis Hollingsworth "All About Jazz"

"Stevens keyboard chops are enchanting"
Dick Metcalf "Improjazznation"

"Stevens's playing remains ever-versatile, alternating between comp-ing changes and fistfuls of chromatic clusters."
Christian Carey "Splendid Reviews"

"Stevens’ piano brings a romantic rush of cold air chords in, again with gospelized arpeggios…"
Steve Koenig "Jazz Weekly"

"The show's icing on the cake was Michael Jefry Stevens, the pianist with the trio. Stevens is a monster player, meaning that nothing stumps him and he is a composite of styles. He's busy, powerful, has a great left hand, plays brilliant stride piano, concocts elaborate keyboard runs and invents the darndest combinations of dissonant chords that resolve just in the nick of time".
Harrisburg Sunday Patriot News

"Michael Jefry Stevens let's his piano stamp the harmonic line that gradually powers in intensity, an urgent essaying of the melodic landscape…"
Jerry D’Souza "All About Jazz"

"Stevens' major virtue is his ability to write fresh, attractive melodies, but he's also a provocative composer.
Harvey Pekar "Jazz Times Magazine"

"Stevens plays with a rolling, tuneful momentum. Even his fleetest passages sing."
Chris Kelsey "Jazz Times"

"Stevens' soloing seems drawn from an unusual combination of influences-Bill Evans, Cecil Taylor, Wynton Kelly-but he puts ideas together quite coherently."
Harvey Pekar "Jazz Times Magazine"

"Stevens' piano stylings owe as much to Debussy, Bartók and Stravinsky as they do to any post-War jazz pianist you'd care to name"
Dan Warburton "Paris Transatlantic"

"Throughout the record, the pianist demonstrates a command of his instrument, not only in a technical sense, but also for the warmth and feeling he coaxes from this stringed, wooden box. His classical notions are explored in particular depth on the floating waves of "Cloud Drift" and the captivating "Whispering Wind", the latter of which bursts with a rich splendor that drives right to the core of Stevens' sense of emotion."
Jay Collins "One Final Note"

…"the piano accents by Michael Jefry Stevens are reminiscent of Webern's pointillism"
Farrell Lowe "All About Jazz"

"Michael Jefry Stevens is influenced on one side by Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk but, on the other, by Mahler, Bartok, Debussy and Ravel. The free jazz environment allows Stevens the luxury of painting his music with a palette containing blues, rock, classical, jazz and funk. The resulting improvisations cannot be pigeonholed."
Richard Bourcier "Jazz Review"

"As I say, this music is very advanced harmonically. You don’t doubt that pianist Michael Jefry Sevens knows his serialism—but his playing never gets tedious because he also knows his Monkisms."
Ted Kane "Jazz Review"

"Michael Jefry Stevens is a fluid player who finds his comfort level not only on the cool side but also through free jazz and instant improvisation. His touch is both delicate and hard hitting, stopping short of bombast when he ventures into the latter. His phrasing has an elegance, and while he does take a line at a tangent he does not let this alter his focus. Stevens suspends time and harmony; his lines arch and curve and fall in a splash of color. He unleashes bolts of thunder with his left hand and clasps melody in scintillating runs."
Jerry D’Souza "All About Jazz"
- selected quotes



REFERENCES

"Michael J. Stevens showed himself to be a very inspiring Big Band-leader, and his compositions were a great challenge for our students."
Jens. Chr. Jensen - Royal Academy of Music
Arhus, Denmark

"His compositions and arrangements are new and exciting, on the cutting edge, and will challenge the best players while at the same time are accessable to even the novice." As a pianist, Michael is excellent. He is a great "comper" and a very interesting soloist. He also is comfortable as a leader and had no difficulty in coaching the students to get them to play in various ways as the music demanded."
Chuck Marohnic, Director of Jazz Studies,
Arizona State University

"Mr. Stevens is a very fine instructor, highly enthusiastic as a mentor, and equally talented as a jazz pianist composer. He is also a person of high character and integrity. His teaching style creates a strong relationship with his students that encourages independent creative thought and action." Mr. Stevens is truly a natural teacher. I can recommend him without hesitation to your University."
Martin Cohen, Associate Dean - Five Towns College
Long Island, New York

"Michael Stevens is an extremely talented and dedicated musician. His skills as a pianist and composer are exceptional"
Jimmy Heath - Professor
Aaron Copland School of Music - Queens College - NYC

"Michael J. Stevens is one of the most talented students I've had in some forty years of teaching at Queens College. He is an extraordinary jazz pianist who also possesses a wide knowledge of many styles of music. His creative instincts are genuine and original and he is continually searching for new dimensions. I highly recommend him for a teaching position."
Sol Berkowitz - Professor
Aaron Copland School of Music - Queens College - NYC






- various educators


"Michael Jefry Stevens, born 1951 in New York, mixes the black and white keys at will, disharmoniously, or then not, rhythmically boastful or artistically stumbling. Idolizing the manner and style of Cecil Taylor? Not entirely, as he is clearly also influenced by Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Melancholy and serenely grey harmonies… from where? Who knows? Stevens’ background reveals that he has seen, experienced and tried a good many things.

This is his first pure solo single CD, and he plays as a slender legged curlew sandpiper on the misty quagmire of a black muddy marsh. Searching for his soul, longing for a mate. Stevens’ low-spirited basic note music displays, however, a splendid demonstration of skill: a skill that actually is not completely revealed when one listens to him for the first time. Not because of it being difficult, but because one must understand the profoundness of its substance. One must listen to this recording in solitude, with a noble drink in one’s hand. In the twilight. In serenity. It is exemplary stuff."
Oskari Rajala in Jazzrytmit 13.02.2003 (Finland)
- Jazzrymit (Finlan


Aercine (Drimala Records)
Jazz Review by Ted Kane

As we head away from a very proud avant garde jazz and towards a neutered entity called improvisational music, it is refreshing to hear an album of freely improvised music so deeply rooted in the jazz tradition as this eponymous release from Aercine. These guys don't exactly play the blues, but they do play with them. These musicians seem to understand that experimentation is a means to an end, not a substitute for a thorough understanding of the jazz dialectic; that, in other words, no matter how far out there you go, it still don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing. Crucially, they also know that once you've established that swing, it's ok to merely imply it.
There's a lot here beside the jazz, and I mean Obeside' as in next to as opposed to instead of. Not unlike the late Don Cherry or the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Aercine use jazz as their methodology for exploring harmonic ideas from 20th century classical music and other sources outside of mainstream jazz. Dig, if you will, Mark Feldman's bluesy violin solo on the group's theme song, with its clever quote of the famous basson line from "Le Sacre du printemps".
As I say, this music is very advanced harmonically. You don't doubt that pianist Michael Jefry Sevens knows his serialism tedious because he also knows his Monkisms. Likewise, trumpeter Herb Robertson's playing contains echoes of Cherry, Don Ayler, and Lester Bowie and also of Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis. Bassist Steve Rust and Drummer Harvey Sorgen are supple enough to accommodate whatever the rest of the group throws at them, knowing when to play right on the beat, when to take a little bit off of it, and when to deconstruct it altogether.

Not every volume of improvisational music wants or deserves to be called jazz. This album does, clearly embracing the tradition as it advances it in its own unique way. At times they find a groove, and even when they are at their most abstract there seems to be a vestige of one present. Combining elements from avant garde classical and free jazz with the blues and gypsy violin, Aercine creates a unique and deep jazz experience.
- Jazz Review


MICHAEL JEFRY STEVENS "Survivor's Suite" (Jazz Halo Records)
"Michael Jefry Stevens is a fluid player who finds his comfort level not only on the cool side but also through free jazz and instant improvisation. His touch is both delicate and hard hitting, stopping short of bombast when he ventures into the latter. The balance is visible on this solo record not only in his choice of material, but also in his treatment of the songs, particularly in his interpretation of "Ask Me Now." His phrasing has an elegance, and while he does take a line at a tangent he does not let this alter his focus. Another tune that pulses is the becoming folkish "Musica Callada #1," where his pace is measured, his air relaxed and balmy. As a composer, Stevens utilizes a wide palette. He essays ballads with considerable feeling, "Quiet" making the case convincingly. The unfolding is deliberate, shading the tune gently, his left hand emphasising darker daubs. And if one looks for the influences, one can witness the ghost of Bill Evans and the visitation of Ahmad Jamal. Comparisons apart the title track covers the vast spectrum that is the wont of Stevens. This is a completely improvised suite, and within its ambit stirs structure and freedom. Stevens suspends time and harmony; his lines arch and curve and fall in a splash of color. He unleashes bolts of thunder with his left hand and clasps melody in scintillating runs. On The Survivor's Suite he keeps blandness away, never letting pretty pictures efface his ardour." - Jerry D'Souza in allaboutjazz.com




- All About Jazz


Hey Michael!!

Wow, I was just thinking
about you this week. The workshop has hired me this summer to teach some keyboard classes in addition to guitar, theory, songwriting, and composing. When they asked me to teach keyboard, I immediately told them that I'm no Michael Jefry Stevens, but I'd be glad to show the incoming students what I know. It doesn't matter who it is, you will still be the best piano teacher that the Workshop has ever had.

I have such fond memories of working with you in that little room at the bottom of the hill in the school house. It'll be quite a trip to be sitting at your old desk if in fact they still run the keyboard classes from that room. I hope so, ya gotta love nostalgia. I can't thank you enough for all that you've given me. You told me when I was fifteen that I would be lucky if I could in years later say that I had studied with three good teachers. You were right! There is you, a composition teacher that I studied with in NY, and my last composition teacher of five years at New England Conservatory. I've worked with many in between and it amazes me how many good musicians there are that can't teach.

I learned the fastest with you.
No other teacher has been
able to duplicate this for me. If I had trouble understanding or playing something, you immediately knew the hang up, and you knew the right solution. I'll be damned if I wasn't cured by the end of the hour.

I became a composer after you taught me how write my ideas down. I told you at the end of that summer that I was going to give my life to this thing and that I was going find a way into a conservatory. I did find a way into New England Conservatory and it couldn't have been done without you.

Thanks for everything Michael!
Your forever grateful student,

Colin Stack
- Colin Stack


Michael Jefry Stevens & Michael Rabinowitz
Play
(Drimala)

by Jay Collins
9 September 2004

For an instrument usually reserved for the buttoned-up environs of the
"Symphony Center", the bassoon, in fact, fits jazz and improvised music
settings quite well. While other reedists have dabbled, few have been bold enough to make this unwieldy instrument their main axe. Michael Rabinowitz, though, is happy to rise to the challenge, making Drimala Records' duet series an ideal setting for the bassoonist to soar, especially in the
company of a worthy associate like pianist Michael Jefry Stevens. Throughout this intimate and thoughtful session, the duo covers terrain that evokes
grand classicism, jazz, and attuned improv, rich on reflection and spirit,
with room for playfulness that at times evokes a celebratory feeling between old friends.

As for this one-day session, the pieces were improvised on the spot, though it is quite easy to assume that the majority of these experiences took some shape of written form beforehand. Interestingly enough, the titles given to the pieces are quite apt, painting pictures of organic, sparse interactions, touched by the beauty of nature. The album's opener, "Sibling Rivalry", focuses on the individuals for a terse, spirited discussion where Stevens and Rabinowitz finish each other's sentences. Similarly, the active "Play" presents the duo at their most percussive, while "Meadow" and the cooperative "Sea Song" are as close as the partners are to locking horns, with Rabinowitz pushing out some steam on the former.

The duo also sparkles during the reflective pieces like "Memory Lane",
perhaps a harkening back to years of playing together and the paths they've traveled. Such sincerity also carries over to the quiet after the storm, heard in the stark lines and extended bassoon dialogue of "Aftermath", or the floating "The Graceful Bear". Further, "Reflections" is a focused solo showcase for Rabinowitz that fosters both slowly evolving and lively thoughts.

While the presence of Rabinowitz on record is a treat, the same can be said for Stevens. Throughout the record, the pianist demonstrates a command of his instrument, not only in a technical sense, but also for the warmth and feeling he coaxes from this stringed, wooden box. His classical notions are explored in particular depth on the floating waves of "Cloud Drift" and the captivating "Whispering Wind", the latter of which bursts with a rich
splendor that drives right to the core of Stevens' sense of emotion. As a
final word, the pair drifts away on "Rivulets", commencing with dense,
melancholic chord structures that serve as the vessel for Rabinowitz's
equally passionate and solemn departing lines.


- Jay Collins


"Michael Jefry Stevens’ first recording of solo piano was done in 1991 but (incomprehensibly) wasn’t released until last year. It was a fine effort, showing none of the tentativeness associated with a musician early in the recording career. So, Survivor’s Suite while ten years later, is musically only a little more "refined" than this previous effort.

Stevens is an adventurous player but with a strong melodic streak. Classical influences are there from the piano music of Debussy and Bartok. On this disc, Stevens performs a sensitive rendition of one of Spanish composer Federico Mompou’s "Musica Calladas". "Quiet" has the meditative calm of some of Erik Satie’s music. But (obviously) there are Jazz influences as well. A well-turned version of Monk’s "Ask Me Now" is a case in point. But, Stevens seems to have learned one of Monk’s most important lessons: be yourself. Consequently the listener is treated to much more linear runs (not the brittle whole tone sweeps favored by Monk). Dissonances are sprinkled throughout, but the chords are much fuller than Monk’s. It’s a very effective version of this Monk chestnut. "The Search" has the flavor of a McCoy Tyner modal excursion, with an ostinato of full-bodied left hand chords. As the piece progresses, the left hand becomes more and more insistent until by the end. It’s a powerful, driving force. Stevens’ development of the melody of this piece gets very intricate as the piece drives towards its well-modulated conclusion. The title track is a 30 minute plus meditation on the 9/11 incident. Not particularly programmatic nor full of maudlin cadences, it is a powerful piece of music without ever being obviously so.

Stevens’ music is full of both emotional and intellectual resonance. And The Survivor’s Suite is a good indication of where this fine pianist, his music, and piano playing, is today."
Robert Iannapollo in Cadence (USA) October 2003
- Cadence Magazine


Michael Jefry Stevens: "Songbook"

Cornelia Street Café
March 1, 2000

Michael Jefry Stevens, a Brooklyn-based pianist with a taste for the avant-garde, has been pursuing a secret career as a jazz songwriter.

That's right: this Mark Whitecage-mentored purveyor of free improv has been building a stash of "songs with lyrics," on tried-and-true subjects like love and the blues, for the last twenty years. (Stevens credits Laura Arbuckle, Tania Lomnitz, and Kathleen Sannwald as his lyrical collaboraters.) Shyness, he admits, is what kept him from going public with these songs until now. For precisely this reason, he's got the ultra-extroverted singer Miles Griffith to belt them out for his debut "Songbook" concert. Playing Hammond organ, Stevens is
also joined by Kevin McNeal on guitar and Rob Garcia on drums, both of whom bring buckets of good taste to bear on the material.

The group opens with "Red's Blues," primarily a scat vehicle
for Griffith. The fireplug of a vocalist brings a trumpet-like attack
to the melody, then delivers a solo full of impeccable bop phrasing
punctuated with growls, outlandish gibberish, and mic-distorting
effects. Changing gears, the group moves on with "Safe In My Arms," a
love ballad; "Jonathan Max," an uptempo waltz dedicated to a newborn child; "Lost Love," an ode to heartbreak; and "Only Love," an
R&B-tinged number that Stevens jokingly introduces as "the ladies'
choice." To close the set Griffith takes center stage for "Losing
Streak," a slow, blues-based ditty with a priceless lyric: "You're on
a losing streak/ your shit's about to freak." Griffith facilitates
some hilarious audience participation, goading the house to repeat his wacked-out ad libs note for note, shriek for shriek.

Stevens and Griffith are perfect foils for one another: the leader's deadpan stage demeanor is funny in its own right, but it's even funnier next to Griffith's over-the-top antics. The only risk is that some might find Griffith hard to take seriously on the sadder numbers. But that aside, Stevens has hit upon a winning combination that ought to get wider exposure.

~David R. Adler, 3/4/00

- All About Jazz


THE FONDA/STEVENS GROUP
Twelve improvisations
Leo
CD LR 394 review by Ken Waxman


Building on jazz's standard two-horns-and-rhythm combo format, these CDs impress by showing how the players manage to make things new by tweaking sounds to match their own aspirations.

A team for over 20 years, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens and bassist Joe Fonda do this by not only insisting that all the sounds on their CD be completely improvised, but by adding another voice to the line-up. French alto and baritone saxophonist Daunik Lazro is one of that country's foremost experimenters, working in contexts as varied as solo recitals and bands with saxophonist Michel Doneda and Joe McPhee. Here his unique articulation and sound sources add another dimension to that supplied by the pianist, bassist, long-time drummer Harvey Sorgen, and endlessly inventive trumpeter Herb Robertson, who has worked with Fonda and Stevens in various bands, on-and-off for more than a decade.

At home or abroad, the power of improvised music means that you can be celebratory even in the midst of sorrow.

Alive with a dozen improvisations to Melford's eight, Fonda, Stevens and crew have more scope in which to exhibit their talents. Additionally, while these may be TWELVE IMPROVISATIONS, they're definitely not 12 pieces of indulged abstraction. Veterans, each member of the quintet knows what he can do, and gets enough space to do it within a group context.
Take, "Distant Voices," at almost 91/2-minutes the longest track. Here modulated stick pressure and knuckle duster rolls from Sorgen lead into ponticello bowing from Fonda and the continuous spew of accented timbres from Robertson. As Lazro adds harmonic color, the trumpeter's lines get more expressive and legato. Soon the brassman is chromatically severing single notes as Stevens accompanies him with church-like low frequency chords. Lazro, now on baritone, smoothly resonates underneath, as Robertson decorates the line with stairstep obbligatos.
The Frenchman's bari can squeal as well as snort as he demonstrates on "Talking Drum", most of which is taken up by Sorgen doing just that. Lazro double tongues searing altissimo squeaks that are later amplified by Robertson's quivering valves. Meanwhile the percussionist resonates, rattles and rolls as if he was playing a bata or a darbuka, using his palms, fingers and palms more than his sticks.

Robertson and he exhibit classic teamwork between brassy triplets and pardiddles and flams on the aptly named "Call and Response". Throughout the CD, the trumpeter seems to be functioning at a level even higher than in years past, having finally exchanged European expatriate life for the United States.

Two example of this are "Extracurricular Activity" and "The Meeting". The former finds Stevens' high frequency, circular piano accents succeeded by split-second, tongue stopping blasts from Lazro and exaggerated wah-wah blowing from Robertson in Clyde McCoy mode.

More serious, the latter sets up a series of meetings among the group members. Concerned with cascading chords and right-handed plinking, Stevens pushing broken note patterns into a swinging centre meets rumbles, glances and bounces from Sorgen. Then Harmon-muted tones from Robertson meet sharp slurs from Lazro's alto, As the trumpeter maintains his feathery timbres, staying concise and concentrated, Lazro moves to split tones and lip vibrations.

Sometimes the sounds move far beyond the expected. Arco bass lines and pronged internal piano string constraint on "In the Distance" are succeeded by what could be electro-acoustic oscillation and distortion mated with buzzing brass tones. As Fonda cushions everyone with arco bustles both high-pitched and lower, Lazro adds altissimo flutter tonguing. Finally the resolution appears in Stevens rubbing the internal piano strings with a light, cylindrical object as Robertson continues twittering short phrases on his own, as if he was a homeless person mumbling to himself.

Improvisations also include variations on jazz's bedrock, with "Front and Center" a finger snapping blues piano showcase, complete with rolling drumbeats and walking bass. Andante, Stevens reveals his inner Red Garland and Fonda displays a bass line that would do Milt Hinton proud. Only at the very end does Lazro contribute dissonant split tones and irregular vibrated slurs and cries.

- by Ken Waxman


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

Photos

Bio

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.


Band Members