Genres:Jazz - Free/Avant-Garde, Jazz - Bebop/Traditional
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.
Michael Jefry Stevens is truly a believer in the global music community and a vocal exponent of an international music.