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 1990s 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 the Fonda/Stevens Group. Since the quartet’s inception in 1992, the Fonda/Stevens Group has released 14 CDS, repeatedly toured Europe and is one of the most successful working modern jazz groups on the international scene.
For the past four decades, I’ve taught private lessons at home and have been on faculties including Five Towns College (Dix Hills, NY), Rhodes College (Memphis, TN), and Eastern Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN) where I currently teach.
I was also a visiting summer professor at the EMU Educacion Musicale in La Plata, Argentina.
My personal teaching philosophy is to understand and respond to the specific needs of each individual student. I am first and foremost concerned with the student as a human being living on this planet through these difficult times. Practicing and learning music is very demanding and often isolating so I believe it is my job to create a bridge for each student to find his/her own unique voice through which they communicate musically.
I would not characterize my teaching style as “academic”. I am by nature and temperament an iconoclast who, over my professional career as a jazz pianist and composer, have created my own musical vision and language. My goal is to create a teaching environment that allows each student to self-actualize and discover the power and the universal truth that is inherent in all great Art.