Born: 1950 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Originally hailing from Brooklyn, NY (the next neighborhood over from where many amazing modern tenor saxophonists, including Bob Berg, Steve Grossman, Dave Leibman, and Eddie Daniels lived), Steve has resided in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1977. Steve has composed over 120 original jazz tunes, and has played with such notables as trumpeters Eddie Henderson, Howard McGhee, Chet Baker, and Tom Harrell; trombonists Roswell Rudd, Si Zentner, and Urbie Green; pianists Andrew Hill, Benny Green, Jessica Williams, Jim McNeely and George Cables; guitarists John Abercrombie, Cal Collins, Mimi Fox, and Bruce Foreman; drummers Eddie Moore, Billy Higgins, Donald Bailey, Helcio Melito and Pete Escovedo; and vocalists Jackie Ryan, Madeline Eastman, Kellye Gray, Buddy Connor, Frankye Kelly, and Fran Foston. His work has been praised by saxophonists as diverse as Stan Getz (“Beautiful”), Charles Lloyd (“A beautiful talent”), and Pharoah Sanders (“This cat can play!”)....
His 2 previous CD’s as a leader (“With John in Mind” and “Live at Yoshi’s”) received international praise, the latter being chosen by Andrew Gilbert of the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 10 best albums by a Bay Area jazz musician for 2005. Scott Yanow of L.A. Jazz Scene has written: Tenor saxophonist Steve Heckman makes no secret about the fact that his main musical inspiration is John Coltrane. His tone is reminiscent of Trane's... and he includes some of the same spirituality in his own originals. Heckman comes across not only as respectful of his idol, but is creative within the boundaries of the style... Heckman has impressive technique, the willingness to stretch himself, and brings back the spirit of Coltrane.” Tim Price, a reviewer for the Saxophone Journal and a highly-respected saxophonist himself, has written “This is a kick-ass saxophonist with finesse, the tunes, the band, Heckman's sound on tenor, all are world-class.” Other comments about Steve’s playing/recordings include: Virtuosic command of his horns” (Jazz Times); Exciting and musically superb (Cadence); Some of the best music I've heard anywhere (Jazz Now).
Steve's forthcoming release, "Born to be Blue" on the Jazzed Media label features special guest guitarist Howard Alden, with a superb rhythm section comprised of pianist Matt Clark, bassist Marcus Shelby, and drummer Akira Tana, and is scheduled for release in June 2013. Steve's 2 previous releases, “With John in Mind” “Live at Yoshi’s”) received international praise, the latter being chosen by Andrew Gilbert of the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 10 best albums by a Bay Area jazz musician for 2005.
His discography also includes additional works: As a co-founder of the San Francisco Chamberjazz Quartet with pianist Gini Wilson (CDs: “The Crossing Point” and “SFCJQ with vocalist Jackie Ryan); as the front-line horn on renowned pianist/ DJ Dick Conte's quartet ("Live at San José Jazz Festival” and "Slow Hot Wind"); as the front-line soloist on bassist/Dexter Gordon alumnus Chuck Metcalf's quartet ("Thinking of You"), and Finnish composer Heikki Koskinen's albums ("Midnight Sun" and “Full Moon”). He has also been featured on albums by vocalists Frankye Kellye, ("The Night is Young"); Fran Foston, ("With a Song in My Heart"), Jesse Foster ("People, Places and Songs”); and Martha Blackard ("River Romance").
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