On June 12, 2021 I presented an exciting joint collaboration with my wife, the artist Laura Salzberg. Laura's artwork is extrodinary in its use of color, shape, line and imagery. I was first attracted to her series of face paintings. These were abstract in nature; however to me, she went much deeper than the image of a face. She brought out an element of who they were , that part of each of us that we often keep hidden from others. She was able to bring out the soul of the individual. I have chosen three of these face paintings to create a musical statement. It is my attempt to bring out what is hidden in the image of the individual. The three movement suite is a directed improvisation for a new trio called Sound House and features Doug Cuomo on guitar & effects with Gary Fogel on drums & percussion.
Here is the program to learn more: Spaces Within
Video of the first movement of the Faces Suite - My Hand - performed by Sound House
Video of the second movement of the Faces Suite - Natural Force - performed by Sound House
Video of the third movement of the Faces Suite - She Told Me - performed by Sound House
In 2020 I presented two new electro/ambient projects for solo trumpet that are quite personal to me. The first is a five movement suite called Fragile Beauty based on the comprehensive aesthetic system of Wabi Sabi. It is about accepting your own faults and realizing that it is OK. For a deeper understanding of this project, you can follow this link: Fragile Beauty
To hear the Fragile Beauty Suite, go to this Spotify Playlist to listen: Fragile Beauty - released February 11, 2020
The second project in 2020 speaks to my life long journey in my search for Spirituality and Faith. I used the central themes as presented by the 2017 White Light Festival for each composition as follows (movement titles are mine and not those of the White Light Festival):
Faith - state of being grasped by an ultimate concern. Drifting to (a)void - video released March 10, 2020
Faith through - a variety of beliefs moving toward sophistication. The Already and the Not Yet - video released May 12, 2020
Faith - Coexistence of sameness and other. Recognizing and accepting the other. Other is self. Other and self are identical. Instead of Eloquent Words - video released July 14, 2020
State of Faith is inherently uncomfortable. Far Away is Close at Hand in Images of Elsewhere - video released September 8, 2020
To learn more concerning this project, follow this link: Spirituality and Faith
The Seasons, a four movement work based on the series of paintings, The Four Seasons by Cy Twombly as an examination on the passage of time and the cycle of life. Composed for solo trumpet with prepared settings for improvisation on GarageBand. Each of the Seasons compositions can be heard at this Spotify Playlist: A New Direction, 2019 - 2020:
Winter Solstice - December 21, 2018, Winter
Vernal Equinox (Spring) - March 20, 2019, Spring
Summer Solstice - June 21, 2019, Summer
Fall Equinox (Autumn) - September 23, 2019, Autumn
For more information, sign up for my newsletter and you can go here to read about my inspiration concerning the Seasons project.
The Jazz Police from Seattle, WA, under the direction of James Rasmussen performs the big band arrangements and compositions of Bill Stevens. The Jazz Police is one of the premier ensembles performing in the Pacific Northwest and has been in existence since 1987. Bill was an original member of the band from 1987 - 1990.
Each month during 2019, I will release an audio recording of the Jazz Police performing one of my big band compositions or arrangements on all social media platforms.
For more information, sign up for my newsletter and you can go here to read about my inspiration concerning the big band arrangements and compositions written for the Jazz Police Big Band.
That's All You Need to Know - released December 19, 2019
New Album: Connections
Please find the liner notes here which includes:
* information on the three suites (Music for Dance in Three Movements, Please Return - based on the artwork of AK Dolven and The Flock and the Shadow - poetry by Eldrid Lunden)
* a video of the Dance (here) choreographed by Luba Ash, lighting by Andre Vasquez and directed by Dexter Buell
* images of the three paintings by AK Dolven (how to reach every corner, don't worry I'll lift the sky and teenagers lifting the sky)
* the translation to the poetry of Eldrid Lunden as spoken by Anja-Christin Nielsen in the original Norwegian language
* meet the musicians: Jordan Young, Sean Moran, Hyuna Park, Harry Miller, Luca Rosenfeld, Evan Lawrence, Gary Fogel, Misia Vessio, Rosdeli Marte, Anja-Christin Nielsen and engineer, Peter Karl
* Wabi Sabi and Dedications
****On May 6, 2017 I presented the first of a three part concert series entitled Harmonic Explorations. This performance took place at the Treehouse in Manhattan thanks to both Richard Shaoul, owner and Luca Rosenfeld, curator. Along with myself on trumpet and flugelhorn we had Braden Smith on tenor sax, Hyuna Park on piano, Luca Rosenfeld on upright bass and Gary Fogel on drums. This first concert was dedicated to my composition teacher at the University of Miami, Ron Miller who opened my eyes and ears to the possibilities of modal Jazz harmony. Links are provided below to view the videos of this evenings performance.
In Search of Consolation (Incomplete)
***On September 30, 2017, I presented the second of a three part series of concerts - Harmonic Explorations II, based on the concepts of chromaticism in writing and improvising as taught by Ron Miller & David Liebman at Spectrum in Brooklyn, NY. Joining me for this second concert was Richard Philbin on tenor saxophone, Harry Miller on keyboard, Luca Rosenfeld on upright bass and on drums, Gary Fogel. Please find below video links to each of the four compositions performed that evening:
**On Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the historic 5C Cafe & Cultural Center we presented the third and final performance of the Harmonic Explorations Series with a focus on re-imagined standards as taught by Ron Miller and David Liebman. With me once again was Richard Philbin on tenor sax, Harry Miller on piano, Luca Rosenfeld on upright bass and on drums, Gary Fogel. Please find below the video links to see and hear the Harmonic Explorations III concert:
D.O.S. (based on Dear Old Stockholm by Bill Stevens)
Yesterdays (new harmony by Bill Stevens)
Beautiful Love, part 1 (new harmony by Ron Miller - head and piano solo)
Beautiful Love, part 2
I Thought About You (new harmony by Bill Stevens)
Green Street, part 1 (based on Green Dolphin Street by Ron Miller)
Green Street, part 2
On June 24, 2016 I had the amazing fortune of performing my new suite "As Though I Had Wings: a suite for Chet Baker" at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. The music and spoken word recitation was composed and arranged by Bill Stevens and featured Bill Stevens on trumpet, Josh Sinton on bari sax and bass clarinet, Corey Larson on guitar, Paul Pricer on upright bass and Brian Woodruff on drums. With spoken word by Ira Rosenberg. I was truly humbled at the level that these performers brought to my music and their ability to bring my concept to life. I am forever grateful for their contribution in fulfilling a dream to its conclusion. I am also thankful for the audience of friends and family, as well as those interested in celebrating the legacy of Chet Baker who came out for the performance, as well as a note of appreciation to the OKB Trio for their second set performance. Please find below a video of our performance of As Though I Had Wings, a suite for Chet Baker at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.
My second major project for 2016 was performed on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at Silvana on 116th Street. The Bill Stevens, Rich Russo, Gary Fogel Trio with special guests Ira Rosenberg and Jamie Winnick presented the Spoken Word Project.
We performed the spoken word suite, "Restless Motion" based on the poetry of Joan Egeland-Scott with recitation by Ira Rosenberg and Jamie Winnick.
Next the Trio with Ira Rosenberg on spoken word recitation premiered "Le Jetee". Le Jetee is a spoken word piece based on the narration to the 1962 film by Chris Marker, "Le Jetee". The musical content of this work is based on the Modes of Limited Transposition of Olivier Messien.
You can view the video of each suite below. Each is approximately 25 minutes in length. I believe that you will agree, the group performed that evening with a high level of professionalism bringing out the concepts I had hoped to express through my writing and direction. Thank you for watching.
On Friday, November 18, 2016 I presented a Lennie Tristano Retrospective that featured Bill Stevens-trumpet, Nick Green-alto sax, Braden Smith-tenor sax, Corey Larson-guitar, Ben Rosenblum-piano, Paul Pricer-upright bass and on drums, Brian Woodruff. This performance took place at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on the 38th anniversary of Lennie Tristano's passing and was dedicated to my teacher, friend and mentor Joe Solomon and to the memory of Connie Crother's who passed away in August.
You will find below the videos from the Lennie Tristano Retrospective as well as some documents that were distributed at the concert including a Memories of Lennie Tristano booklet (edited by Paul Keegan) and a detailed contrafact sheet of lines written by Lennie Tristano, his students, colleagues and peers. On my pedagogy page you will find a document detailing the instructional concepts that Lennie Tristano used in his teaching including the expansion of these concepts by Sal Mosca as taught to me by Joe Solomon, himself a student of both Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca.