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AAS prof Steinbeck to present concert of jazz, blues, gospel

November 11, 2011

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Paul Steinbeck, an assistant professor of musicology in the Department of African American Studies in The College of Arts and Sciences, will present a concert of jazz, blues and gospel music Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St. He will be joined by special guests Myles Tate III on piano and Lawrence Leathers on drums.

Richard Dubin, professor of practice at the S.I.Newhouse School of Public Communications, will host the event. The concert is free, and refreshments will be served.

Steinbeck is a bassist/improviser/composer whose original music reflects his experience playing everything from free jazz to hip-hop. His third recording as leader, "Sun Set" (Engine e022, 2007), is an impressive artistic statement that blends adventurous collective improvisation and a range of musical styles, from R&B and gospel to expressive, coloristic percussion pieces. Steinbeck's previous CDs, "Three Fifths" (Engine e015, 2005) and "Nine Ways" (Engine e008, 2004), feature a core of East Coast improvisers–saxophonists Niko Higgins and Andrew Lamb and percussionist Warren Smith–who have made the Engine Studios imprint an important source for the best new sounds in creative music.

Steinbeck performs in the United States and internationally with several groups–his new experimental ensemble, THUMP; a French-American quintet with saxophonist Pierrick Menuau; and the Low End Theory quartet with former AACM president Mwata Bowden. He co-authored tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson's instructional book for improvisers, "Exercises for the Creative Musician," now in its second edition. Steinbeck holds degrees from Columbia University (Ph.D.) as well as the University of Chicago (B.A.).

Tate is a jazz pianist hailing from Chicago. With roots in gospel, blues and soul music, his approach to the craft is simple: play from the soul and touch all the souls who are listening. Having studied jazz piano at Roosevelt University and Michigan State University, he has been carrying out his plan to affect as many listeners as possible.

After playing with many of the music industry's great, Tate has now stepped out and formed his own group named The Myles Tate Swingtet. These talented musicians play straight-ahead jazz with a quality that can be appreciated by the strongest of jazz lovers. The current project is called "The Eternal Search" and features Steinbeck, alto/soprano saxist Fred Jackson, tenor/soprano saxist Tommy Bradford, trumpeter Shaun Johnson and drummer Phil Fornett.

Leathers was exposed to music since birth. From gospel to jazz, his mother would play records and tapes every day. He began playing the drums at the age of 10; however the church is where Leathers' musical training began.

Under the grooming of his mother, Carolyn Leathers, and family friend Joe Lane II, he began to play for the choir processional, later graduating to the offering selection and eventually moving on to become the drummer for the church, New Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

Leathers has performed with many top jazz artists on the scene today, including Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Rodney Whitaker, Eric Reed, Vanessa Rubin, Donald Harrison and Derrick Gardner. His performance experience includes an extensive stint with the great trombonist Wycliffe Gordon.

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