Born: June 9, 1945 Primary Instrument: Drums
Michael has performed and recorded with a wide array of jazz artists, including Bob Brookmeyer, Bennie Maupin, Dave Liebman, Pharoah Sanders, the late Charlie Byrd, Francois Moutin, Vic Juris, Clay Jenkins, Don Menza, Bobby Bradford, Phil Ranelin, Buddy Colette, Alan Broadbent, Bob Florence, Mike Melvoin, Lynn Arriale, Bud Shank, John Patitucci, Karl Berger, Vinne Golia, and many others. He has also played with personalities as wildly diverse as The Rolling Stones, Cher, David Bowie, Shirley MacLaine, and Natalie Cole, to name a few.
Michael leads three distinct but interrelated lives. As a college professor, he holds a Ph.D. in education, and two Master's degrees, in English and education respectively. He has taught at three prominent universities and is currently in residence at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches writing.
He has also been active as an award-winning poet, writer, and jazz journalist, often writing liner notes and promotional material for such luminaries as Bennie Maupin, Bob Brookmeyer, Darek Oles, and Bob Florence. His work has been published in many literary journals, and he has authored three books of poetry and fiction, and is currently writing a book on jazz for Scarecrow Press.
In addition to his performance activities, Michael was awarded composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Percussive Arts Society. The former afforded him the opportunity to write a large ensemble piece called Shapes and Visions for the vibraphonist Karl Berger, which was performed at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.; and the latter gave him the opportunity to compose a solo work for drum set called Downside-Up, which has been performed frequently at regional and national competitions, recitals, and festivals.
Michael is currently a member of the Bennie Maupin Ensemble, The NOMADS duo (with Dave Liebman), TRIO FRIO (with Vic Juris and Francois Moutin), and SPATIAL EDITION (with Vic Juris, Jim Ridl, and Steve Varner). He also co-leads a new group called LINEAGE with Dave Liebman.
Michael is one of the most involved, sensitive, and musical drummers I have known, plus -- he swings!! Calling him a drummer isn't really good enough -- he inhales the music and gives you a lovely breeze in return. -- Bob Brookmeyer
Michael Stephans is the thunder, the storm, and the calm before it. He beats your heart as your heart beats. -- Leroy Downs, The Jazz Cat
...a melodic, unique, and outstanding drummer. -- L.A. Jazz Scene
Stephans throws the book away on drumming -- he plays completely by gut feeling. -- All About Jazz
In the world of modern drumming...Michael Stephans is one of the true keepers of the flame. -- Bennie Maupin
Personnel:Michael Stephans:drums;Tom Garvin:piano;John Patitucci:bass;Bob Sheppard:saxophones;Bob Ojeda:trumpet
MICHAEL STEPHANS - DAVID LIEBMAN (ITM, 2009)
Personnel:Michael Stephans: Drums, Pocket Cornet, Alto Valve-Trombone, Piano, Percussion, Voice, Tibetan Singing Bowls;Dave Liebman: Tenor, Soprano Saxophones, C-Flute, Wood Flute, Piano, Voice, Drums
NO SUCH THING: MATT VASHLISHAN(Origin Records,2009)
Personnel:Matt Vashlishan: alto, soprano, saxes, flute;Dave Liebman: soprano, tenor saxes, producer;Vic Juris: guitar;Tony Marino bass;Michael Stephans: drums
OM/ShalOM: MICHAEL STEPHANS(EnDemik,2007)
Personnel:Michael Stephans:drums, percussion. piano, spoken word;Dave Liebman:soprano, tenor saxophones, wooden flute, piano;Bennie Maupin: bass clarinet, tenor,soprano saxophones,alto flute; Scott Colley: bass;Munyungo Jackson:percussion, voice
The Bennie Maupin Ensemble
(2006) Bennie Maupin - woodwinds, piano
Darek Oles - bass
Michael Stephans - drums, percussion
Munyungo Jackson - percussion, voice
The Don Menza Big Band
Jazzed Media Records
STAY OUT OF THE SUN
Bob Brookmeyer - Michael Stephans
Bob Brookmeyer - valve trombone, piano
Michael Stephans - drums
Larry Koonse - guitars
Tom Warrington - bass
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East Stroudsburg, PA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Ph.D., M.A., M.Ed., B.A. Lessons by audition Rates negotiable