Adegoke Steve Colson

ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON is a pianist and composer who has performed worldwide as a leader in jazz ensembles ranging between trios to orchestras. He was born in Newark, NJ and grew up in East Orange, NJ. He received his degree at Northwestern University School of Music. He lived for a decade in Chicago before moving to the East Coast, where he currently resides. The City of Newark declared November 13th Adegoke Steve Colson day in recognition of the premier of his multi-media work, Greens, Rice, and a Rope, at Newark Symphony Hall as part of the national celebration of New Music America. Steve is a critically acclaimed jazz musician. His compositions are now part of the “jazz standard” repertoire. They are also being recorded and performed by other jazz greats. In the 1970s, he joined The Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians. This musicians’ collective has influenced music worldwide in the 20th century and 21st century. Steve’s music has been likened to the works of Monk, Mingus and Ellington, as well as Ives and Berio and Stravinsky. He has been honored with numerous awards and commissions for composition by organizations that are interested in the arts. He has also traveled extensively performing with talented artists. He has performed with Pheeroan AkLaff’s Muhal Richard Abrams and Kelvyn Bel, Ed Blackwell, Hamiet Blueiett, T.K. Blue, Andrew Cyrille. Baikida Carpenter, Anthony Davis. Richard Davis. Kahil El’ Zabar. Douglas Ewart. Rachelle Farrell. Malachi Favors. Joe Ford. Chico Freeman. Rafael Donald Garrett. Benny Golson. Michael Gregory. Craig Harris. Billy Hart. Graham Haynes. Mark Helias. Fred Hopkins. Joseph Jarman. Leroy Jenkins. Oliver Lake. George Lewis. Branford Marsalis. Steve McCall. Andy McCloud. Makanda Ken McIntyre. Monk, Butch Morris and Dushun Moley, David Murray. Hannibal Peterson. Rufus Reid. Max Roach. Marlena Shaw. Tyshawn Sorey. Dakota Staton. Henry Threadgill. Steve Turre. James “Blood” Ulmer. Chris White. Ed Wilkerson. Reggie Workman. Rev. Frank Wright, among others. Amiri Baraka (Blue Ark), and Spirit of Life Ensemble were also regular guests. Steve arranged and directed the music of Willie “The Lion” Smith for the national Lost Jazz Shrines program, which was the result of a United States Congressional Resolution declaring Jazz a “national Treasure.” The concert, which was aired by PBS, featured the music of the City of Newark (one of eleven American cities). This is just one of many television shows that Steve has presented in the U.S. and abroad. Steve was Music Director of Adventures of a Black Girl In Search of God by Canadian playwright Djanet sears. He performed in Amiri Baraka and Max Roach’s bopera, The Life and Life of Bumpy John. The New Jersey Chamber Music Society also asked Steve to collaborate with Richard Wesley and Amiri Baraka. Their second book, “…as In a Cultural Reminiscence …,”, was the first jazz orchestra work to be performed at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, NJPAC (1997)-98. Steve has been an educator all his life. He was one of 23 selected jazz artists to pilot the Jazz Artists in the Schools program by The National Endowment for the Arts (1981). He has presented workshops both in the U.S.A. and abroad. He teaches at Bloomfield College as well as The Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he teaches courses in World Music and Music in U.S. He is the author of Intro to Jazz, African American Influence, and Piano. He is the “listening and historical” instructor for NJPAC Jazz for Teens Program. Steve is married Iqua Colson, a singer, lyricist, and arts administrator. Their two sons are grown and live in Montclair, N.J. Steve’s work has been released on Japanese, American and European record labels, including Evidence, Columbia/Sony and Black Saint. His latest CD, The Untarnished Dream as a leader, features a trio that includes jazz legends Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman, and his wife Iqua singing several tracks. The International Jazz Journalists ranked this CD on their own Silver Sphinx label as one of the top Jazz CDs 2010. Their previous Silver Sphinx CD, Hope for Love was nominated for the Grammy. Their 1979 Colson Unity Troupe LP, “Triumph!” from Colson was re-released in London by Soul Jazz Records Freedom Rhythm in November 2011.

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