Born: June 4, 1971 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Born in Toronto, Canada on June 4, 1971, Grant Stewart was exposed to the music of Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray and Coleman Hawkins by his father, a high-school English teacher and semiprofessional guitarist. Father and son often played together for hours on end. It was through these early experiences and his father's encouragement that Stewart first developed a strong ear for melody, style, and improvisation. He began with the alto saxophone at age 10, and when he was 14 his first teacher, noted Toronto bandleader Pete Schofield, invited him to play professionally in Schofield's Big Band. At 17 he switched to the tenor saxophone and was soon playing with such master saxophonists as Pat Labarbara and Bob Mover. Stewart considers Mover to be one of his greatest teachers and among his strongest influences along with Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Don Byas, and Lester Young.
Since moving to New York City at the age of 19, Stewart has studied with such masters as Donald Byrd, Barry Harris, and Joe Lovano, and performed with Curtis Fuller, John Hendricks, Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Bill Charlap, Frank Gant, Dan Barrett, Bob Mover, Brad Mehldau, Russell Malone, Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Jimmy Cobb, Harry Connick , Harold Mabern, Mickey Roker, Arthur Harper, Jimmy Lovelace, Cecil Payne, Dick Hyman, Herb Geller and was a member of the last Al Grey Sextet.
Stewart can be found playing at such clubs in NY as, Birdland, Smoke, The Ketano, The Jazz Standard, Fat Cat and can be heard every Tuesday night at Smalls Jazz Club. Stewart has performed all over North America and Europe as well as Japan, Brazil, Taiwan and was one of the first jazz artists to be invited to play at the historical Hermitage Museum in St.Petersberg Russia. Grant was also a featured artist at the Guggenheim Museums' Jazz series with his trio-featuring Jimmy Cobb.
Stewart has two releases as a leader out on Criss Cross, Downtown Sounds and More Urban Tones, as well as a third on the Fresh Sounds label entitled Buen Rollo. Downtown Sounds, heralded by critics in the U.S., Canada and Europe, was recorded in 1992 and includes Brad Mehldau, piano, Kenny Washington, drums, Peter Washington, bass and Joe Magnarelli, trumpet. Geoff Chapman, of the Toronto Star selected Downtown Sounds as one of the Top Five Jazz Albums of 1994.
More Urban Tones features Peter Bernstein, guitar, Peter Washington, bass, and Billy Drummond, drums. You can also hear Grant on Ryan Kisors' recent Quintet release The Awakening on Criss Cross Jazz. One of his latest projects is a two-tenor group co-led with Eric Alexander. The C.D.is called Wailin' and is available on Criss Cross. Grant's latest quintet release Estate featuring Bill Charlap and Joe Cohn is available on Criss Cross as well.
New releases for 06 include Grant's second quintet CD for Video Arts Japan as well as a follow up CD to the 2 tenor project with Eric Alexander on Criss Cross.