Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Steve heard the legendary Mongo Santamaria playing Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" at just seven years old. He was so inspired that he taught himself to play the congas by listening to the album over and over again. In 1968, Steve formed his first group, THE YOUNG EXPLOSIVES, a 4 piece Latin-jazz ensemble. They performed on local television, appeared in school talent shows and at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City.
In 1969, Steve met Mongo Santamaria at the Club Beacon. When he told Mongo how much he admired him, Mongo challenged Steve to play congas with his band. When fifteen-year-old Steve started wailing away on three congas, Mongo got so excited he sat with him and they played out the entire set together. For Steve, it was a dream come true. Steve's first professional appearance was with Jon Lucien's 1972 national tour. Since then, he has played non-stop with some of the best in the business. He played for the Brazilian band of pianist Dom Salvador and percussionist Dom Um Romao and then went on to become the conga player for Harry Belafonte. He worked for Harry for four years, appearing on his records, TV shows and tours. He has also performed live and recorded with some of the most well-known jazz artist in the world, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Ayers, Grover Washington Jr., McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Sadao Watanabe, Tania Maria and David Sanborn.
Steve is now arranging, composing and producing his own blend of music, incorporating and expanding on everything he has learned in his musical sojourn. His rich, multi-layered music has a unique sound, backed by the most contagious, uplifting beats to which you'll ever move your feet.
About Steve's Workshop
Steve’s percussion workshop is an interactive, hands-on experience for beginners and experienced players alike. He teaches basic rhythms from cultures all over the world and applies them to the djembe, congas, and other various percussion instruments. Participants learn techniques for playing with sensitivity in a large percussion group and for standing out and soloing when the opportunity arises. Drums for Steve’s workshop will be provided and will be available for sale to participants at special prices.
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