A Saxophone Star Ready to Go Nova
One of the most exciting young tenor sax players and composers in the Bay Area and called a “must see” artist by the New York Times, Dayna Stephens is a fluid, vigorous soloist with a warm, soulful sound.
Stephens, a Berkeley High alumnus, flashed serious talent early on. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship, he was selected by judges Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Long for the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. While there he studied and played with, among others, Shorter, Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield and Mark Turner.
Since graduating from the Monk Institute in 2003, Stephens has been splitting his time between his Bay Area home turf and the mettle testing, competitive New York scene. He’s performed recently with innovative heavyweights including Carlos Santana, Kenny Barron, Oliver Lake and Josh Roseman. He's been active over the past few months performing with Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, Peter Apfelbaum, Scott Amendola and a whole host of cutting edge players both in the Bay Area and New York City.
Stephens recently released his first CD as a leader, The Timeless Now, featuring stars including John Scofield, Taylor Eigsti and Eric Harland. As the CD receives the acclaim it's sure to earn, Stephens will become well known throughout the land.
Stephens was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in the Bay Area. Inspired by his grandfather's playing, Stephens picked up the tenor sax for the first time at age 13.
Dayna attended the prestigious Berkeley High School jazz program, a fertile starting point for many great musicians. Upon graduation, Stephens auditioned for the famous Berklee College of Music, and won not just entry, but a full scholarship. He began studies in the spring of 1998. While at Berklee, Stephens got to perform with Chick Corea and the Boston Pops for a PBS special. Next came the Monk Institute, which Stephens chose over Julliard, another prestigious academy that offered him a spot.
Since graduating the Monk Institute, Stephens time has been taken up with a whirlwind performance schedule on both coasts. With the credentials he's already earned, it's easy to see where Stephens gets his tremendoous the chops.
As writer Andrew Gilbert recently said of Stephens in a Contra Costa Times profile, "Just when the brilliant young jazz musician seems to come into focus, he reveals another facet of his already improbably expansive musical gift."
If you haven't heard him yet, don't miss him this month at Pearl's. If you have heard him, of course, you don't need to take our word for it. We're sure to see you at the show.
Read more about Dayna Stephens at his website.
(Photo of Dayna Stephens by Scott Chernis.)
Artist or Label Web Site: http://www.daynastephens.com/index.php
Official Website: http://www.jazzatpearls.com/jazz
Added by in2jazz on June 11, 2008