Carving His Niche in an Evolving Music World
Steve Weingart’s musical journey began when his parents, recognizing his gift at the age of three, sought out the best piano teacher in their home town of Dayton, Ohio. A critical foundation of classical studies followed that allowed Steve to appreciate the complex compositions of contemporary artists who would ultimately influence his professional career as a composer and keyboard player. Through his future brother-in-law, Steve was introduced to the compelling music of Chicago, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and he 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 where he was introduced to the world of improvisation. It was the beginning of a professional career, spanning virtually every musical possibility, as he began getting noticed around the local jazz scene. Steve soon realized it was time to take the next step and make the move to Los Angeles where he could expand his opportunities. While teaching 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 and it was at that time he met many established musicians including drummer Dave Weckl. He spent a few years touring the world with Weckl’s band in addition to writing and co-writing songs for numerous albums including ‘Transition’, ‘Perpetual Motion’, ‘Live and Very Plugged In’, and ‘Multiplicity’.
Steve also met and has become widely known for 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 and released a live CD: “El Grupo-Live”. Following up this experience, Luke invited Steve to play a few tracks on his 2008 album, ‘Ever Changing Times’. This led to Steve becoming Luke’s Music Director for his live performances. The touring experience proved so successful, that Steve returned to the studio to record on Luke’s follow up albums ‘Alls Well That Ends Well’ (2010) and the recent ‘Transition’ (2013). The follow up tours to both albums included Steve’s wife, Renee Jones, as the bass player and singer in a powerful quartet that included drummer Eric Valentine.
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 Aronoff, 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 and moved Chick Corea to proclaim it “a powerful musical statement.” The core personnel included Frank Gambale on guitar, Tom Brechtlein on drums, and Jimmy Earl on bass. The album also introduced the talents of Steve’s wife, Renee, who sang and played bass on a few select tracks.
Steve’s next project, 2011’s ‘Dialogue’ was particularly exciting. It showcased Steve’s best instrumental composing to date in addition to being co-written with his wife, Renee, and included her participation playing bass on the entire project. 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 the musical endeavor, and it is quite evident upon listening to the very high production value. Special guests Steve Lukather, Victor Wooten, and Lenny Castro joined the core band of Simon Phillips on drums, Renee Jones on bass/vocals, Mike Miller on guitar, and Katisse Buckingham on saxes/flutes.
In 2012, the core band of Weingart, Jones, Phillips and Buckingham reunited with drummer/percussionist Chris Wabich for the recording of ‘Observatory’, their second release in as many years. Tapping into the influence of the music legends that inspired them (Joe Zawinul & Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Wayne Shorter), Steve and Renee dramatically thrust the genre in new directions with ‘Observatory’ by expressing a potent mixture of compositional risk, a refined sonic palette and superb musical craftsmanship.
Steve’s latest project began in early 2013 when he entered the studio as part of Simon Phillip’s reimagined Protocol project, contributing as both a principle performer and co-writer. The group of Phillips, Weingart, guitarist Andy Timmons and bassist Ernest Tibbs released ‘Protocol II’ in the fall. A tour to support the project has taken the band throughout Europe and North America with Asia on the horizon.