Last Thursday night, MasterWorks Theatre hosted the first of a series of four concerts presented by international jazz pianist and composer, Michael Jefry Stevens. Our very easy-going artist let us know right away that “Tonight is a not a concert per se but a conversation.” For an hour and a half, we enjoyed the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. After each piece, listeners had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments which prompted Michael to share interesting stories about the composers, their music and his own life.
Here are some quotes from Michael’s conversation with us as he freely shared wisdom from the piano bench.
“The piano is my great teacher.”
“I just want to be present with the piano…part of the reason I’m doing this series is to play a beautiful piano…. Not every venue has such beautiful pianos….” (He performed on our 6’1″ Perzina grand.)
“Music is a spiritual language all the world shares.”
“Touching one person [with my music] is worth far more than money.”
I’ve heard Michael perform in jazz ensembles before but hearing him perform as a soloist was a special treat. It gave me the opportunity to really focus on and enjoy the beauty of the piano without being “distracted,” albeit pleasantly, by other instruments and vocals. (One of my dearest friends is a jazz vocalist and my husband is a bass player.) Nearly everyone who attended the “conversation” commented to me what a special experience the evening was for them.
I hope you will join us for next month’s “Evening with Michael Jefry Stevens.” It will be Saturday, June 27 at 7:30. It will again be offered for a suggested donation of $10 for adults. Please bring someone with you. They will thank you for it.