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The MOUNTAIN CHAMBER JAZZ ENSEMBLE Appearing Sun Feb 5th 2017 at 7:30pm

$10 in advance
$12 at the door

Katie Cilluffo - Vocals
Ben Bjorlie - Drums
Bill Fouty - Bass
Justice Mann - Trombone
Erisa Goto, Christian Howes, Candace Justice - Violins
Franklin Keel - Cello
Michael Jefry Stevens - piano/composition

Michael Jefry Stevens plays jazz.......often.
Jazz is a broad field and Michael covers a lot of ground, composing and  playing everything from traditional jazz to rock influenced electric jazz the more avant garde renderings.

Michael makes his home in Black Mountain NC, but he keeps his bags packed with his heavy touring schedule.  This past spring found Michael performing throughout Europe including concerts in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia.   This fall he'll be performing in Edmonton Canada, Seattle Washington, Grand Rapids Michigan, Lansing Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan, Rochester New York, and several cities in Virginia.

When not performing in Europe or the United States, Michael can be found playing frequently throughout Western North Carolina.   Sometimes solo, sometimes in small combos, and sometimes in larger groups such as his new Chamber Jazz Ensemble. 

The music is a mixture of improvised and notated music combining both modern and traditional jazz styles with contemporary classical musical forms and harmonies.  The Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble uses a wide variety of instrumentation including voice, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, trombone, drums, percussion, vibraphone, flute, clarinet, saxophones and acoustic/electric pianos.

Over the past 40 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 and international 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 1990’s and was voted one of the best 1000 jazz recordings by the 2011 Penguin Guide to Jazz.

This rhythm section went on to become the nucleus for Mr. Stevens working quartet the Fonda/Stevens Group. Since the quartet's inception in 1992, the Fonda/Stevens Group has released 12 cds, repeatedly toured Europe and is one of the most successful 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 over 80 cds.

Michael Jefry Stevens has composed over 320 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 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 Art's 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

. In 2009 Mr. Stevens was named a “Steinway” Performing Artist (the first ever for the City of Memphis). He currently resides in Black Mountain, NC and is artist-in-residence every year at the jazz workshop at Educacion Musicale in La Plata, Argentina. He has been on the performing artist roster of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts since 1998. 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 George Schuller on drums. This quartet has released 7 cd's, including their latest CD "Seven" on the Polish "Nottwo" Record Label (2014).

Since 2005 he has released 4 cds on the Polish Nottwo Record Label: Decade featuring the Sorgen-Rust-Stevens Trio and most recently the Fonda/Stevens Group "TRIO" CD. Other more recent projects include a duo with Serbian violist Szilard Mezei, the quartet project "Eastern Boundary" featuring Hungarian drummer Balazs Bagyi and Hungarian saxophonist Mihaly Borbely, a Quintet project with Danish guitarist Jon Hemmersam featuring Dave Liebman on saxophone, the "Brain Inventory Trio" featuring 2 of Finland's most innovative improvisers (Esa Pietila and Juho Laitenen), the Swiss/German quartet featuring Ewald Hugle, his partnership with New Orleans horn man and vocalist Brian "Breeze" Cayolle, the CD release "Duets" with vibaphonist Jason DeCristofaro and the 2014 release of the Wendy Jones Quartet CD "Perfect Dream" featuring 11 of my original compositions.

Michael Jefry Stevens is truly a believer in the global music community and a vocal exponent of an international music. He is a member of the IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz), ISIM (International Society of Impovised Music) and the AAPF (Asheville Area Piano forum).