Steve’s parents recognized his gift for music when he was only three years old. They felt confident that he should follow a musical path in his formative years, so they sought out the best piano teacher locally, in Dayton, Ohio. He studied everything from classical to baroque to contemporary styles under the watchful eye of Audley Wasson. His years of study continued through out high school, when at the end, Steve performed a senior recital.
It was during his younger years that Steve met his future brother-in-law, who introduced him to the music of Chicago, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Steve knew then that music would be his life.
After high school, Steve was awarded a full scholarship to The College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was introduced to the world of improvisation by trumpeter and university professor Pat Harbison. According to Steve,
“One day he gave me two pieces of paper that contained extremely valuable information: scales and the chords that relate to them. For the years to come, I spent night and day playing and exploring these scales with the related chords in every possible way, in every possible key signature, in every song I learned.”
While in school, Steve began to get noticed on the local jazz scene. This was the beginning of a professional career that spanned practically everything musically imaginable.
In this midst of these various musical experiences, Steve knew it was time to take the next step and make a move to a place where live music was more in demand. When he arrived in Los Angeles, he landed a teaching job at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He began playing with local greats and soon found himself in the midst of a jazz/Latin/funk trio with Marco Mendoza on bass and vocals and Joey Heredia on drums. Steve credits his work with this trio for his good fortune. It was at that time he met many established musicians and was noticed for his talents. Among those he met, Steve was introduced to drummer Dave Weckl. He spent a few years touring the world with the band, writing and co-writing songs for numerous Dave Weckl Band CDs (‘Transition’, ‘Perpetual Motion’, ‘Live and Very Plugged In’, and ‘Multiplicity’).
Steve also met and became widely known from his work with Steve Lukather, aka: ‘Luke’ (Toto, Los Lobotomys, L.A. guitar session legend). His first experience was in 2005 with ‘El Grupo’. The band toured in Japan and Europe to wide acclaim. In response to public demand, El Grupo released a live CD: “El Grupo-Live”. Following up this experience, Luke invited Steve to play a few tracks on his solo CD, ‘Ever Changing Times’. This led to Steve becoming Luke’s Music Director for his live performances supporting the CD. The touring experience proved so successful, that Steve returned to the studio to record on Luke’s ‘Alls Well That Ends Well’ album. The follow up touring schedule introduced Steve’s wife, Renee Jones as the new bass player and singer in the powerful quartet.
Other notable projects Steve participated in with Luke include a tour of Asia in the spring of 2010 with “Soul Bop” (Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Robben Ford, Darryl Jones, and Rodney Holmes), the “40th Anniversary of the Baked Potato” Jazz Club (Vinnie Colaiuta and Tal Wilkenfeld), an autumn European tour with “Good Fellas” (Kenny Aranoff, and Fabrizio Grossi), and a January 2011 New York City appearance with “Toxic Monkey” (Bill Evans, Will Lee and Keith Carlock).
2006 brought about Steve’s highly anticipated solo project, Dark Blue Dream. It was received with great approval in the music world. Chick Corea, jazz legend, says of ‘Dark Blue Dream’: “a powerful musical statement.” Dark Blue Dream was recorded in 2005, and is still available as a CD and online for download.
The core personnel includes Frank Gambale-guitar, Tom Brechtlein-drums, and Jimmy Earl-bass. This CD also premiers the first time CD appearance of Steve’s wife, Renee, who sings and plays bass on a few select tracks.
Currently, Steve is releasing his third CD project, Dialogue. This is a particularly exciting CD as it showcases Steve’s best instrumental composing to date, co-writing with his wife, Renee, and her participation playing bass on the entire project. Renee’s participation in this music brought about another level in their friendship/marriage as they decided to form a musical partnership in the making of ‘Dialogue’. Also very notable is Steve’s association with co-producer and drummer, Simon Phillips (Toto, Jeff Beck, The Who, Stanley Clarke). Steve and Simon displayed a singularity in vision for this musical endeavor, and it is quite evident upon listening to the very high production value. Steve Lukather, Victor Wooten, and Lenny Castro are special guests along with the core band of: Simon Phillips-drums, Renee Jones-bass/vocals, Mike Miller-guitar, and Katisse Buckingham-saxes/flutes. ‘Dialogue’ will be released in 2011 initially as a digital download and plans are currently being made for live appearances in support of this album.
Other artists Steve has worked with include:
Chaka Khan, Scott Henderson, Eric Marienthal, Ray Parker Jr., Warren Hill, Jimmy Haslip, Terry Lynn Carrington, Jason Scheff, Keith Howland, Tris Imboden, John Pattituci, Nuno Bettencourt, Steve Lukather, Simon Phillips, Mike Miller, Keith Carlock, Derico Watson, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Darryl Jones, Rodney Holmes, Robben Ford, Will Lee, Victor Wooten.