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The MICHAEL JEFRY STEVENS QUARTET Appearing Wed Dec 20th 2017 at 7:30pm

$10 in advance

$12 at the door


Michael Jefry Stevens 
Todd Wright 

Zack Page 
Rick Dilling 

 Michael Jefry Stevens 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. 

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.   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).

Todd Wright earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Pikeville College (KY) and then entered Appalachian State University where he earned the Master of Music and Education Specialist Degrees. He also has a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of South Florida. Todd Wright is in demand as a saxophonist and often serves as a clinician leading workshops of jazz improvisation. In addition, Wright adjudicates at contests and festivals. He also leads lectures on jazz history.

As a studio musician, Wright can be heard on numerous recordings. His own debut recording, Begonia, was released in 1995, and Christmas Time Is Here followed in 1998. In 2001, Reflections, a duo collaboration with New York recording artist Frank Kimbrough at the piano, was released. Wearing the hat of both a performer and educator, Wright was chosen for the Outstanding Teacher Award in the School of Music for the 1996-1997 school year. In 1998, he was presented with the prestigious Aegis Community Service Award by the Appalachian Black Faculty and Staff Council. In addition, the North Carolina Arts Council awarded Wright with a music fellowship in recognition of original compositions by North Carolina jazz composers. He had entered into the competition original works from the Begonia CD.

Drummer Rick Dilling has 43 years of experience playing jazz with such notable players as Clark Terry, Ernie Watts, Herb Ellis, Phil Woods, Houston Persons and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. He is been a member of the jazz faculty of Appalachian State University for the past 25 years.

Rick performs regularly in the Todd Wright Quartet, the Michael Jeffery Stevens Trio, the Wendy Jones Quartet , the Asheville Jazz Orchestra as well as many of the areas top jazz artist.

“From big band, to swing, to bebop, to original music, Rick’s knowledge of and expertise in playing many jazz styles enables him to always passionately and tastefully serve the music and the artists with whom he shares the stage.
“More importantly, he’s there for the music first — not for himself. For me, this is the most desirable and admirable trait of any performer; and precisely what elevates Rick to the level of a true artist.”   ~ Vocalist Wendy Hayes

Zack Page has been performing as a professional bassist since the early ‘90s. His work with various jazz ensembles, theater companies and the cruise industry has taken him to all 50 U.S. States, the Caribbean islands, Australia, South America, Europe and the Far East.

Born in Virginia, Zack primarily grew up in New Jersey, but his early days placed him in Cincinnati, parts of NC and Los Angeles. “While growing up I listened to a lot of heavy metal: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. My father was a huge blues and jazz fan, so I also heard a lot of that growing up. He’d take my brothers and me into NYC to see Les Paul, the Mingus Big Band and others. My mother was an avid choral singer at church and both my brothers are musicians (guitar and piano).

My grandfather, whom I never really knew, was a big jazz fan and he’d take my father from small-town NC up to Philadelphia and New York to see Miles Davis, Horace Silver and other jazz greats. My father would introduce my brothers and me to Oscar Peterson and the Modern Jazz Quartet through albums he played at home. He never pushed us into jazz or blues, but in later high school and college we ended up heading in that direction.”