I am a classically trained improviser. I demonstrated an interest and talent in classical piano literature at a young age. From 1967 to 1969, I studied with Dr. Edwin LaBounty and Dr. Herbert Herman at Memphis State Univ, and later, (1969-71) with Walter Cook. at the Univ. of Missouri at Kansas City. My first professional work was in Kansas City while I was still a student.
My life in music changed when I met Saxophonist, Composer Gil Mélle. Gil had just completed his score to the Universal film, "The Andromeda Strain" when we played the Kansas City Jazz Festival and toured the Midwest in 1971. I was profoundly influenced by his unique approach to electronics, and "maverick" approach to composition and improvisation. I felt compelled to leave school and pursue my own efforts at jazz/improvised music as a composer/bandleader. Since then, I have pursued improvisation by freelancing and playing with my own bands performing original music.
My work in music tends towards jazz, but is by no means limitied to it. In 1974, I met Vocalist, Theatre director, Choreographer, Meredith Monk. In 1974, I performed her dance-theater work, "Education of the Girlchild" in Minneapolis. A year later, I toured Europe with her and her group "The House" and moved to New York to continue my work with her as keyboardist and musical consultant for the group. More on my work with Meredith Monk is explained in detail on the appropriate page in this website.
The above two artists are primary influences on my life as a performer and composer. My work in dance and theater as you will see in my resume, is as extensive as my work in music. My resume continues...........
With a completely new band (save holdover Billy Mintz), I recorded another album, called "Equipoise" More info on this album can also be found in the Recordings page.
In Los Angeles, I was able to work regulary doing my own original work primarily at first, at a little known (soon to be very well known) club called the "Alligator Lounge". A vibrant scene for original improvised music occured, which I was able to happily be a part of. I began to write at a greater pace for my new group which had L.A.'s best, including local woodwind wiz, Vinny Golia, Steuart Liebig, and the "ever so subtle" Billy Mintz on drums. The group played at the Alligator and other new improvised venues in the city. Regular vistits to the studio during this time yielded my first album as a leader. Entitled, "Rite of Passage" it included tracks from the quartet and a trio formed in 2000, with bassist Putter Smith including Billy Mintz. See the Recordings page for more info on this CD. Also, this trio performed my first of many concerts at the L.A. County Museum of Art in 1999.
During this period, I performed the "Travelogue Series" of pieces with Meredith Monk. These are the pieces that included "Paris", "Venice Milan", and "Chaconne" as an evening of one act productions in March 1987, at the Joyce Theatre in New York. Also, I was assistant to Wayne Hankin and keyboardist in Meredith's opera, "Atlas: An Opera in Three Acts". The piece was premiered at the Houston Grand Opera, with performances at Minneapolis' Walker Art Centre, and Philadelphia's American Theatre Festival. The piece also toured Europe and was recorded by ECM Records during this time.
After returning to New York, I began to freelance, and work with my own groups again, as well as returning to work with Meredith Monk. A tape sent on a whim to the Playboy Jazz Festival as an entrance into the Third Annual Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search, yielded a Semi-Final victory. The review of my music originally occurred in Los Angeles. My work was highly recommended. Even though we weren't able to advance to the finals after a "playoff" at Michael's Pub in New York, I decided to move to Los Angeles, as I felt I would get better reception for my work. I also wanted to study film composition which I did with David Angel at Dick Grove's School of Music in 1990. I subsequently graduated from the program with a Composition Degree in December.
I lived in Frankfurt, Germany where I was staff keyboardist with Frankfurt Germany Radio and TV. I made radio recordings with the station jazz ensemble and toured Germany with this group. This band included some of Germany's finest including drummer Ralph Hubner, trombonist Albert Manglesdorf, and bassist Gunter Lenz. I also played with various other European and American artists including African drummer Alphonse Mouzon. During my stay in Germany, I travelled as a bandleader to different cities, playing my original music.
In February, 1985, I toured with a group which included vocalist Lauren Newton from the Vienna Art Orchestra. The last concert on this tour was a radio/simulcast in Stuttgart, and featured trombonist, computer musician and AACM member, George Lewis.
While continuing my work with Meredith Monk in New York, I wrote scores for Off-Broadway theatre productions, and scored a short film entitiled "The Black Cap" based on a short story by Katherine Mansfield and starring French actress, Micheline Presle. Other than my work with the Craig Purpura band, I played in New York with oboist/saxophonist Paul McCandless ("Oregon"), bassist Harvie Swartz, vocalist Sheila Jordan, saxophonist Gerry Niewood and many others.
In New York, I recorded "Fifth Floor Walkup". This jazz album by saxophonist Craig Purpura, featured 2 original compositions.
Recorded "What's a WERB?" with the Whole Earth Rainbow Band in in Minneapolis Minn. This recording featured a triple track acoustic piano solo entitled "Logos". It also featured saxophonist Jim Pepper playing "Northern Lights", a composition by the groups vibist/drummer, Steve Kimmel.
1995 - During this time, I was priveledged to work with Marilia, a South American vocalist, currently living in Japan. She sang the texts of ther husband's (Gozu Yoshimasu's) poetry with soundscapes that I composed (see track #1, Yuki, Yuki in audio player). During this year long project, I was able to achieve a feeling for electronic sounds that further enriched my work. In June of '95, with dancer Maida Withers, the 3 of us went to Tokyo and performed our original performance art work, "The Stone Ring", based on the poem by Gozu Yoshimasu.
1996 - "When Swans Were Flying". Music for modern dance. Produced by El Camino College for the Concert Dance Ensemble Spring Concert.
1998 - "Fallen Angels". Music for modern dance. Produced by El Camino College for the Concert Dance Ensemble Spring Concert (see track #2 Premonition in audio player).
1999 - Turning to chamber music, I composed "Requiem 2000" for "full" piano and electronic sounds (see tracks #3-6 in audio player).
1999 - In October, I was solo accompanist for Meredith Monk at the Sacred Music Festival concert at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
2000 - More chamber music with "What's in a Name" for 3 pianos. I received a development (Subito) grant from the American composers Forum to offset production costs. The piece was premiered at the Downtown Playhouse in Los Angeles in April 2000.
2001 - I performed Samuel Barber's "Excursions", Op 20 at Marsee Auditorium, El Camino College, with the San Pedro City Ballet. A modern dance piece was choreographed to the music.
Also, I met composer David Canright, a composer of Microtonal music. David asked me to premiere his piano work "Fibonacci Suite" for retuned piano, 7 hands at Pomona College as part of "Microfest 2001".
2001 - "Haunted" - Chamber music for guitar, flute, and 2 synthesizers. Premiered at the Downtown Playhouse.
2003 - Pianist and arranger for "An Evening with Marlene" an Ovation nominated play Ovation nominated play starring Salome Jens with music about actress Marlene Dietrich, at Theatre East in Studio City , CA.
Began recording "Equipoise", using Billy Mintz on drums with an all new band including saxophonist Kim Richmond and Guitarist Ken Rosser.
2004 - Finshed work on "Equipoise" and released it in the summer of 2004.
2008 - Steve is currently in the process of staging his new multi-media dance/theater piece "New Orleans Lowdown". It is a jazz homage for New Orleans scored for an 8 piece jazz band and takes place during the week of Hurricane Katrina. It is roughly 40 minutes long.
2012 - Steve composed "Los Angeles Suite for Flute Octet" which was premiered by the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra on May 20th. View program here.
For more recent work, please go to Performances page on this website.