Over the past twenty years the Cayolle/Stevens Group has been performing their unique blend of New Orleans/Cajun inspired music, combined with post-bop aggressive New York City 21st Century Jazz. Brian “Breeze” Cayolle’s great great Uncle, Sidney Bechet, is a huge influence on the group’s music. Stevens’ modern approach to Jazz is the perfect complement to the group’s individual and eclectic sound.
From Louis Armstrong to Dizzy Gillespie, from Lester Young to John Coltrane, from Earl Hines to Bill Evans, the group traverses multiple styles seamlessly. The Cayolle/Stevens Group developed in Memphis through an ironic meeting between New Orleans musician, Brian “Breeze” Cayolle, and New York City musician, Michael Jefry Stevens.
In 2003 Michael Jefry Stevens left Brooklyn and married his wife, Tina Barr, in Memphis. Tina Barr was a poet and professor of English at Rhodes College. In the summer of 2005, after his New Orleans home was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Breeze re-located to Memphis. Breeze and Michael met at a local gig at the famous Peabody Hotel.
The Cayolle/Stevens Group bridges two of the most vital musical centers in the world: New Orleans and New York City. You can listen to their debut CD on the following bandcamp link: https://michaeljefrystevens.bandcamp.com/track/sweet-lorraineSaxophonist/Clarinet Master/Singer Brian “Breeze” Cayolle is soul
Saxophonist/Clarinet Master/Singer Brian "Breeze" Cayolle is soulful, strong, and deeply rooted in the jazz, blues, R&B, and Rock 'n Roll traditions of his native New Orleans and his adopted home of Memphis.
His talents have taken him around the world, igniting crowds to standing ovations from the Montreux Jazz Festival to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Breeze studied music at the University of New Orleans and honed his craft in the clubs of the Crescent City. He performed with many of New Orleans' finest artists, including rock 'n roll hall of famer Allen Toussaint, who made Breeze a fixture in his band.
A glance at Breeze's musical achievements reveals a road map of American music: touring the world with Toussaint and Elvis Costello; opening for Stevie Ray Vaugh and Leon Russell; playing blues with Gatemouth Brown; touring with zydeco king C.J. Chenier; appearing in HBO's Treme; appearing on late night with Conan O'Brien;s winging as a member of Dr. John's horn section; backing an all-star lineup featuring Bonnie Raitt, and Billy Joel at the Newport R&B Festival; and so much more.
Renardo Ward is a Jazz Ambassador, local first-call musician, and instructor at the Memphis Drum Shop School of Percussion. He has performed with jazz masters Donald Brown, George Coleman, Frank Foster, Milt Jackson, Cyrus Chestnut, Sonny Fortune, Joe Lovano, Slide Hampton, Kirk Whalum, James Williams and has been featured with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.
Renardo served as a jazz ambassador to West Africa as a member of the "Trio GRT" with Gene Rush and Tim Goodwin where he was assigned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the United States Department of State to perform concerts and teach master classes and lessons in Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Senegal. Renardo Ward is a living master in the great Memphis Music tradition.
Michael Jefry Stevens - Pianist, Composer and “Steinway Artist,” Michael Jefry Stevens has been active on the international jazz scene for the past four decades. He has composed over 400 works for both large and small ensembles.
Michael has released over 100 CDs featuring his own music and has performed and recorded extensively with many of the top names in Jazz, including Dave Liebman, Oliver Lake, Dave Douglas, Leo Smith, Matt Wilson, Han Bennink, Mark Feldman, Steve Wilson, Walt Weiskopf, Valerie Ponomarev, Cecil Bridgewater, Jeanne Lee, Dakota Staton, Pheeroan AkLaff, Charles Moffett Sr., George Schuller, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and many others. In 2021 he received a $10,000 Doris Duke Foundation Performing Artist Recovery Fund Grant administered by the New York Community Trust Fund and grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and Buncombe County’s Mountain Bizworks. He received his Master of Arts degree in Jazz Performance from Queens College (CCNY).
Jonathan A. Wires is a jazz bassist, composer, and educator. He received aBachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Memphis and a Master's in jazzstudies from Middle Tennessee State University, where he currently teaches.Wires has been recorded on over 30 records ranging from rock, jazz, folk, toclassically influenced music.
He has performed with a variety of artists including Alvin Fielder, Jeff Coffin, Cassandra Wilson, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Calvin Newborn and many others. Wires toured Europe in 2010 and China in 2012, 2018, and 2019 Jonathan is currently on the music faculty of MTSU.