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Focus on Steve Nieves


Saxophonist/vocalist/percussionist Steve Nieves was raised on a virtual smorgasbord of musical styles in his hometown of San Diego, California. As his parents possessed a love for all kinds of music, he grew up with an unlikely mix of recordings that ranged from artists like James Brown to Sergio Mendes,

The Jazz Crusaders to Tito Puente, and many others. Beginning his studies on the alto sax at age 7, young Nieves also started a love affair with percussion, which seemed a natural step for him since he comes from a family of drummers. Adding lead vocals to his arsenal, a teenage Nieves took to the thriving San Diego music scene and soon he was in demand as both a sideman and leader. By his twenties he had worked alongside some of the areas top players including Jason Scheff (now with CHICAGO) and members of the popular smooth jazz group FATTBURGER.

In 1981, Steve made the move north to the Los Angeles area and began touring and recording with a national R&B act. It wasn't long before he had his first major recording contract, signing with Motown Records in 1984 as the front man for JAKATA. That began a longstanding relationship with producer Steve Barri (responsible for signing STEELY DAN). He appeared on DAVE MASON's recording, "Two Hearts" (MCA Records), alongside Stevie Winwood and Phoebe Snow. In 1998, Steve released his solo album "Dream Harvest" (JVC Records) which included both keyboardist Jeff Lorber and bass giant Abraham Laborial.


In 1999, Steve and his longtime collaborators formed the group JANGO. Under Barri's guidance they released the album "Dreamtown" (Samson Records) which included a cover of Victor Feldman's "With Your Love" that went on to earn JANGO a nomination for "Best New Artist of the Year" at the 2000 National Smooth Jazz Awards. Their second release "Closer To Home" earned them a spot at Europe's famed North Sea Jazz Festival in 2001.

The new millennium finds Steve as busy as ever juggling appearances with JANGO, as well as renowned guitarist/producer Chieli Minucci (SPECIAL EFX). In the summer of 2005, Steve was tapped for the Loggins & Messina "Sittin' in Again" reunion band. A DVD of the fifty-city tour is available online and at all major outlets. Since 2001, he has been a regular member of the Lao Tizer Band. Lao (another nominee for "Best New Smooth Jazz Artist") has just released his latest CD "Diversify" (Yse Records) which includes Steve on saxophone, percussion, and vocals. Steve can also be found on an upcoming release by southern California's latest entry into the smooth jazz world, Pro2Call. From Maui to Amsterdam and beyond, he continues to broaden his musical journey in fresh and exciting ways.


I love music from Steve Nieves and Jango...

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