Born: November 26, 1960 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Chris Doc Stewart The most important biographical fact of my life is that I couldn't have accomplished anything if it weren't for the support of life-long companion Patty, who married a poor musician 25 years ago and then put me through medical school and raised our five children, and for the forgiveness of Jesus who saved my life in 1986. Chris Stewart
Chris Doc Stewart, prominent ER Doctor for the Mayo Clinic Hospital, is also a world class technician on the alto saxophone. Having said that, Stewart could well be one of the best jazz saxophonists you will ever hear. Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1960, and raised on a farm in Rockford, Stewart was the sixth of nine musical children; everybody in the family played an instrument. Stewart picked up his lifetime instrument, the alto saxophone, when he was just ten. In eighth grade, his family moved to Anaheim, California just three doors down from his future wife. While in high school, Stewart received jazz and classical awards on both the flute and saxophone. Winning a talent contest at Disneyland, gave Stewart the opportunity to be a part of the then vibrant music scene at the Magic Kingdom.
During and after high school, Stewart played gigs and performed with many of the local big bands, sharing the stage with Louis Bellson, Bill Watrous, and Matt Catingub. Stewart also enjoyed a steady gig with the Tashiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band! Stewart developed an interest in clarinet, which sparked him to transcribe all of Eddie Daniels' solos off his To Bird with Love LP. As he delved further into transcribing solo's his journey took him to the sounds of Cannonball Adderley. Stewart then began the huge project of transcribing all of Cannonball Adderley's solos, hence the beginning of a sincere interest and deep love of Cannonball Adderley, which would be the basis of his latest release.
Jazz was a passion for Stewart, but at the age of 23, and already married for three years; Stewart hit the proverbial fork in the road and chose the stability of a career in medicine as his source of living. Doctor Stewart has enjoyed many successes in his profession, but his love of music has always been an underlying passion. Twenty years later Doc Stewart's interest in Cannonball was rekindled by the accessibility of information on the legendary Cannonball via the Internet and a revisit to the vast collection of every recording Cannonball ever made. Doc Stewart became inspired and committed himself to creating a 21-volume transcription library of Cannonball solos - a project that is ongoing today. The result, for Doc Stewart was his interest in playing was once again re-ignited!
Latest CD Release: Doc Stewart wanted to produce a fresh sound that did not simply duplicate the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, so tenor sax was used instead of Nat Adderley's coronet sound. Doc Stewart composed all the arrangements with this thought in mind. This CD celebrates the Golden Anniversary of Bird's passing and the fairy tale debut of Cannonball in New York in 1955, subsequently the sub-title 50 Years from Bird to Cannonball.
Doc Stewart chose all the musicians who would compliment the Phoenix release and his tribute to Adderley. Dan Delaney, a pianist originally from Boston who conjures the same spirit of Joe Zawinul filled the first seat. Twenty-One year old, bassist Chris Finet, who just lays it down without being overbearing, much like Sam Jones was for the Cannonball Adderley Quintet and Sextet, filled seat number two; drummer Dom Moio, whose musical reputation is unsurpassed; and the tenor player who gives this session the feel of that epic Cannonball-Coltrane session, Lucas Pino. At eighteen years old, Pino has already been recognized by Down Beat Magazine and is off to a flying start with a full scholarship to the Dave Brubeck Institute. Pino's raw innate understanding of music and improvisation is clearly an epic gift.
Phoenix has been received with open arms by the Jazz Community. In the first week of it's release it was heralded as the number one pick for newly released jazz CDs by Jazz Week Magazine. The first week of radio play has landed it in the top 40 jazz CDs at number 33.
Phoenix, a masterfully crafted release is the result of the interest and respect Doc Stewart has harbored for many years of his life concerning Cannonball Adderley. The culmination of this effort is a release with integrity and superior musicianship worthy of a place in any jazz aficionado's collection.
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