French-born, New York-based saxophonist Stéphane Spira grew up with jazz the old-school way: in late-night jams and cutting sessions. A protégé of longtime Chet Baker pianist Michel Graillier, Spira's jazz career has taken him from 4 a.m. basement sessions in the underbelly of Paris, through acclaimed collaborations with trumpeter Stéphane Belmondo and pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, to the cutting edge of New York jazz. Trained as an engineer, Stéphane sharpened his chops off the books, after hours, immersing himself in a hard-edged milieu. Perhaps since he honed his chops in the depths of the jazz underground, Spira was spared the awkwardness of growing up in public: Spira's remarkable maturity” (Radio France) has not gone unnoticed by the critics. Prior to the 2018 New Playground, Spira released four critically acclaimed albums as a bandleader: First Page, Spirabassi (a duo collaboration with pianist Giovanni Mirabassi) and Round About Jobim, a tribute to the father of bossa nova featuring Lionel Belmondo’s acclaimed Hymne au Soleil ensemble, and 2014’s In Between.
New Playground marks that exciting moment when a gifted artist finds his definitive voice - November 2018 DOWNBEAT-
Spira invests his soprano with individual style accenting its intimately vocalic nature - NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD - nov.
Excellent new jazz inspirations Stéphane Spira – New Playground - Contemporary Fusion Reviews
JAZZ WEEKLY - Soprano saxist Stephane Spira delivers an impressive album with compatriots Joshua Richman/p-key, Steve
Wood/b and jimmy MacBride
I’ve heard a great many soprano saxists in recent years,but none who play the instrument with the liquid richness that Spira
draws from his instrument - The Art Music Lounge (web)
You will love the sound and the feel after just 4 measures! Music Man Blog
Spira has a liquidity of tone that ticks all the right boxes whilst managing to keep the listener interested with his ideas and
compositions...Lyrical, explorative and swinging in a contemporary manner - if Paul Desmond had played soprano he may have
sounded like this. CD Review (U.K.): Stéphane Spira By Lance Liddle - New Playground
Un album d'une sérénité époustouflante... (l'ENA HORS LES MURS - France)
Stéphane Spira, saxo atmosphérique - LIBERATION (France)