Born in East Baltimore, Maryland, Steve grew up cultivating a deep love and respect for jazz music, picking up the sax at age seven. He attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, then went on to graduate from Frederick Douglass High, a school with a rich musical legacy whose alumni include Cab Calloway, Eubie Blake, and Ellis Larkin. His early influences were John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Grover Washington Jr., Hank Mobley, and Freddie Hubbard.
Following graduation in 1986, Steve was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he studied with saxophonist Bill Pierce, formerly of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. After Berklee, Steve moved to New York, where he played with the Charles Mingus Epitaph, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Milt Hinton, Pharaoh Sanders, plus Frank Wess and Jimmy Heath (at the same time!), among many others.
In the mid-1990s, Steve decided to revisit his roots, to give something back to the community that had nurtured him. He joined the faculty of the Jazz Mentoring Program at the Eubie Blake Center for Cultural Arts, where one of his star students was Quincy Phillips, who’s played with Roy Hargrove. Continuing his musical pursuits in the Baltimore/Washington area, Steve performed with Ruby Glover, Phillip Harper, Theodros Avery, Grady Tate, and Cyrus Chestnut, who featured Steve on his third album, “Earth Stories.”
Returning to New York, Steve sat in with the the likes of the late Elvin Jones, Joey DeFrancesco, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Wynton Marsalis, Wessel “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Eric Lewis (ELew) and Chick Corea. He is close friends with his mentor Kenny Garrett. In a symbolic passing of the torch, Kenny gifted Steve with a saxophone in 2012. Long distances don’t prevent these two from sharing impromptu jam sessions via Skype, even when Kenny is on the road!
As leader of his own quartet, Steve has opened for jazz giants Abbey Lincoln, Lionel Hampton, and Stanley Turrentine. Currently, Steve is a part of the legendary drummer Greg Bandy’s band: Greg has played for many years with Pharoah Sanders, Stanley Turrentine and Yusef Lateef. Steve is proud to have released his debut album A Caring Tone on Samech records, which is available on ITunes, Amazon, and Google Play.