Steve Wilson is a bandleader, composer and arranger whose musical vision reveres the past, create a soundscape of the present and reaches toward the future. His well-crafted sets offer audiences a rich tapestry, fusing classical jazz, R&B, soul and funk, Latin, and lyrical ballads. Since 1990 he has carefully nurtured two critically acclaimed quartets that have recorded and performed internationally, each with its signature sound. Not one to rest on his laurels, Steve is continually working on new projects. This will be the place to catch up on who is working with Steve!
Wilsonian's Grain: Ugonna Okegwo, Bill Stewart,
Steve, Orrin Evans at the Village Vanguard, March 2010 (Photo by John Rogers)
Steve Wilson and Wilsonian's Grain
Wilsonian's Grain premiered at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club on October 17, 2008, and features Orrin Evans on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. You can listen to this performance on NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, who called Steve "one of the finest saxophonists in the business."
Here are Steve's thoughts on Wilsonian's Grain: Old Socks with New Shoes...
"I've had a vast amount of playing experiences over the past ten years, with some of my jazz heroes, and with many, many friends. These last ten years have been fruitful and so rewarding, and had a profound influence on me. Now, I'm really interested in re-examining some of my earlier compositions that had not yet been fully explored on the bandstand, with this new band of old friends. It's like putting on old socks with new shoes." Steve has assembled a quartet of long-time friends who bring their own experiences, and are always at their creative best! The sets will include music from Steve's Criss Cross recordings as well as tunes from Orrin, Bill and Ugonna. Old socks, new shoes...
Hear Wilsonian's Grain Live at the Village Vanguard (March 24, 2010)
Lewis Nash/Steve Wilson Duo
Lewis Nash / Steve Wilson Duo
Nash & Wilson are two instrumentalists whose playing is richly steeped in the history of jazz. They are leaders of their generation concocting their own brand of elegant and intricate music. Together they click like two gears, reaching their audience in more than musical ways. Their performances are brimming with virtuosic command of rhythm, coloration, melodic flare, and their exquisite gifts for phrasing and lyricism. Two of the most sought after musicians on the jazz scene, they are improvisation and creativity at its very best!
“grace, generosity and intelligence”
- Albany Jazz
“Nash's swinging brilliance, quick reflexes, and melodic bent are all plainly evident here, as are Wilson's lyrical side, playfulness, and rhythmic approach to conversation.”
(Photo by John Rogers)
This collaborative, co-led trio first performed together at a two-night sold-out New York engagement which saxophonist Steve Wilson fondly recalls as "one of the best musical experiences I've ever had." Their inaugural engagement was a musical banquet of riches for each member of the band. Wilson says, "With the natural chemistry between us it was a profound experience that surpassed our expectations." The trio's performances are imbued with an unlimited sense of interplay, and musical magic abounds
Steve Wilson and Strings
This is an educational project that features music from Charlie Parker's 1950 recording, Bird With Strings. The beauty of this residency is in the large impact it can have on your community by involving both classical and jazz students as well as reaching a mainstream audience. The following description is for a 3 - 5 day residency.
The Steve Wilson Quartet
David O'Rourke, music director and arranger, guitar
Student String ensemble. May be as small as a string quartet, or as large as an orchestra. String players need no prior experience!
"Bird with Strings" music, a list of charts, with instrumentation, is available.
Villa Lobos "Fantasia" for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra
The first half of the program is a straight jazz set with Steve's group, second half could include the Villa Lobos, and the Charlie Parker tunes with the student strings.
Steve's Wilson's "A Joyful Noise" arranged for big band and saxophone soloist.
Rehearsals with the string students, led by Steve Wilson and David O'Rourke, of the "Bird With Strings" music.
Steve Wilson Quartet members lead sessions on improvisation, ensemble coachings, instrument specific clinics, discussions on the business of music, jazz history, and can include outreach to a community middle or high school. The number of services during the residency will be agreed upon between presenter and artist management.
Steve works with a student big band on his piece "A Joyful Noise" and performs with them in concert. He can also work with them on other repertoire.
David O'Rourke offers a workshop giving a historical overview of string writing in jazz and cinema, the classical influences and puts it in context to modern day writing. The session includes a slide show of scores, with audio.
This residency has been done at The University of Maryland in College Park and at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY. Here are some of the comments that Steve received:
"Thank you again for the amazing experience you provided for the students and staff yesterday. Steve Wilson and his band are fabulous musicians and were extremely helpful with my kids."
Carlos Castrillon, Director, Hyattsville Middle School Bands
"We host many wonderful artists each season, but I can say without hesitation that this residency was one the most successful and enjoyable on many levels."
Ruth Waalkes, Director of Artistic Initiatives, Clarice Smith Center | Read More
"There is no doubt that you have allowed us to understand more deeply the tremendous time, energy and creativity that goes into a career in the music industry."
Maryland Music Business Society | Read More
"It was a great couple of days with fantastic input from Steve and David with our students and lots great music with all of us here."
Vincent Martucci, Piano Faculty, SUNY New Paltz
From the audience:
"Excellent concert - Steve Wilson and the band were graceful and elegant. One of the best concerts I have attended at UM!"
"I loved hearing the student string players - it's wonderful that Steve is so open and willing to share his expertise."
||The Steve Wilson Quartet
Steve Wilson - saxophone
Bruce Barth - piano
Ed Howard - bass
Adam Cruz - drums
The Steve Wilson Quartet is celebrated as one of the foremost ensembles in jazz. Including pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Adam Cruz, this band of contemporaries delivers inspiring melodies in shifting styles and varied textures, with swing, cohesion, and soulful empathy that come from over ten years of working together.
“A quartet that is very sleek and cool”
- All About Jazz
After a very successful orchestra debut, Steve has been invited back to perform at the Vermont Mozart Festival in 2010. Vibes player Joe Locke and bassist Hans Glawischnig will join him to perform a jazz concert on July 28th. On August 1st, Steve will again be performing with the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra playing works of Ellington that will be arranged by Steve's Manhattan School of Music student, Jonathan Ragonese. This will be part of an all American program including Copeland?s Appalachian Spring and Barber's "Capricorn" Concerto. Listen to You and I Must Part, a piece Jonathan wrote for Steve.
One of the best parts of 2009 for Steve was touring with the Blue Note 7, with his great friends Bill Charlap Peter Bernstein, Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash. They were celebrating the great legacy of Blue Note Records on the occasion of their 70th Anniversary. One of the stops was at the Kennedy Center, and you can hear that performance on NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Steve recently recorded his tune "In Our Time" with The Downtown Quartet, which is co-led by Steve, Michael Wolff, Chip Jackson and Victor Lewis. The University of Maryland commissioned this tune. (Can you take that from tune my site on the Downtown Qrt section or should I send it again?)