Steve Lindeman

Steve Lindeman is a jazz composer and keyboard player active in the Salt Lake City area. He is a professor of music theory in the Brigham Young University School of Music. He holds degrees in jazz studies (Indiana University), music theory (Queens College, CUNY), and theory/history (Rutgers). He has published books and articles concerned with the 19th-century piano concerto, and various aspects of jazz. He has performed with Bob Berg, Cecil Bridgewater, Milt Hinton, Kathy Kosins, Kitty Margolis, Andy Martin, John Mellencamp, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, and others.

Recent Reviews

To Terri Hinte: Hi. reviewing Steve Lindeman’s album tomorrow. my vote for favorite orchestral jazz album of the year, hands down.
– Mark Myers, Jazz Wax

“The finest new orchestra jazz album I’ve heard this year …. A perfectly envisioned and executed album–without a single note of disappointment.”
– Marc Myers, Jazz Wax

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From Critical Jazz

Steve Lindeman is a seasoned professional at the top of his game while guiding Synthesis to reach their full potential both as artists and as individuals. Easily one of the better big band performances in some time.

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From The Jazz Word

The music on The Day After Tomorrow covers a range of styles including straight-ahead swing, Latin jazz, funk and ballads. Pieces such as “I Remember” and “October, Last” stand out with thick, clustered voicing and intriguing use of ensemble color.

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From The Jazz Page

From beginning to end, this fantastic recording is a remarkable achievement.

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From CD Insight

Offbeat sonorities and unusual instrumental combinations, episodic shifts, extended silences, and overdubbed vocal choruses are all part of Lindeman’s approach, which loses nothing in the way of swinging urgency or harmonic sweetness in embracing what Oliver Nelson called “the abstract truth.”

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Best of 2013 So Far Includes Steve Lindeman’s The Day After Yesterday

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Hi Steve –

Happy to report that your CD came in tied for the #2 most added jazz CD @ CMJ this week. Congrats!

Mitchell Feldman Associates
Radio promotion, publicity & consulting for the international jazz community

A few words from Steve Lindeman (from the liner notes):

Welcome to The Day After Yesterday. These ten compositions were written while I was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop (2008-2011), directed by veteran jazz composer, arranger, and pianist Jim McNeely (who contributed the notes), with co-director Mike Holober. They are performed by Synthesis, recipients of the prestigious “Top University Jazz Big Band in the Country” award by Downbeat magazine in 2013.

1. “Lavender FLowers on Her Table”

My mother, Winifred Belmont Jones Lindeman, had a penchant for all things lavender, purple, and violet. And while she passed away before any of my kids were born, I have often told them stories of their “Grandma Winnie.” The inspiration for, and the title of the opening track, Lavender Flowers on Her Table, stems from an experience I had at the Brooklyn apartment of my daughter, Scarlett Kessinger Lindeman. One beautiful spring day in 2009, while in New York City for a meeting of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, I stopped by her Bushwick apartment for a visit. As I entered Scarlett’s kitchen, I noticed a fresh bouquet of lavender flowers on her table, and a twinkle in her eye that somehow told me of my mother’s presence in the room, and in Scarlett’s life. Daniel Burt plays a thoughtful trombone solo, followed by Ben Nichol’s big tenor saxophone, rounded out by Ray Smith’s flute, and the solos conclude with Charles Carr’s trumpet. I am grateful to my son, Samuel Kessinger—a talented violinist, singer, and keyboard player—who helped to shape several sections of “Lavender Flowers”.

2. “Meet Me When the Stars Come Out”

When I was a young kid growing up on Home Avenue in Columbus, Indiana, my parents made me go to bed when the streetlights came on (around 8:30 p.m.). On warm summer evenings, I would be outside playing (usually “Kick the Can”) with my friends, always dreading the illumination of those lights as the sun faded, which meant the end to the fun of that day. Nevertheless, it was also a magical time, as that was when the stars began to come out. I wrote “Meet Me When the Stars Come Out” for my wife, Sharon Kessinger, in memory of this mysterious and beckoning time of the early evening, when the promise of excitement and newness looms large on the horizon. Great solos come from guitarist Brady Bills and Ray Smith on alto sax, and I sit in on Hammond B-3 organ.

3. “Long Gone”

The inspiration for “Long Gone” stems from a conversation I had with my daughter, Scarlett, while visiting her Brooklyn apartment preceding one of the meetings of the BMI Workshop. As I was sentimentally lamenting the passage of her childhood years, my nostalgia got to be too much for her, and in her impatience, said something like: “Dad—those days are long gone!” So this piece attempts to evoke a mellow rethinking of that precious time. Note Ben Nichol’s strong tenor solo, and Jordan Kamalu’s piano.

4. “Llévame ya al Mundo de las Maravillas”

The music of “Llévame ya al Mundo de las Maravillas” (“Take Me to Wonderland Right Away”) [for Stefan Karlsson] was inspired by, and is dedicated to, the great Swedish-born pianist, composer, and educator of that name. On multiple occasions, I had the wonderfully good fortune to study with Stefan at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. In various sessions, he would talk about certain exotic jazz harmonic progressions that would, because of their beautiful and haunting colors, “take you to wonderland right away.” That phrase, and the various examples he taught, haunted me for a long time, and eventually surfaced as this tune. A former jazz piano student of mine, Stephanie Payne, suggested some of the harmonies of the bridge section. I then floated a few lyrical ideas to vocalist and composer Kelly Eisenhour, and she took those and penned the evocative lyrics for this tune. That’s her singing the four background harmony parts, in addition to her gorgeous lead vocal. My friend and colleague, Steve Call, sits in on tuba. My Q’d Up bandmates and friends Jay Lawrence and Ron Brough contribute all manner of percussion: bongos (Jay), marimba, vibes, castanets, hand percussion, bell tree, wind chimes, and more (Ron). Synthesis’s woodwind section is especially highlighted, with clarinet, two alto flutes, bass flute, and bass clarinet. I love the sound of Brady Bills’s acoustic 12-string, nylon-string, and several other electric guitars. He takes the first solo, followed by Ray Smith’s rare and exotic alto flute. I am grateful to Michelle Gomez for her help with the Spanish title.

5. “Aunt Jeanne”

“Aunt Jeanne” was composed in tribute to my mother’s youngest sister, Jeanne Jones Snow. Following in the tradition of John Coltrane’s Cousin Mary, Horace Silver’s Song for My Father and Gregory Is Here, and many others, my piece is a tip of the hat to my Aunt Jeanne, who is especially revered in my extended family. She had a very successful professional career as a dancer on Broadway in the late 1940s and 1950s, and television in its early years. She is very strong-willed, and a powerfully positive force in the life of her family, sometimes blunt and direct in her expressions, and often changing her mind abruptly. I cast Aunt Jeanne as a “jazz waltz with a twist,” in an attempt to express her rich and sometimes contradictory nature. It has a shifting meter of 5-6- 6-5 (many thanks to Steve Lyman for his help in working out the issues in dealing with the challenges of this meter). Great solos stem from Jory Woodis on soprano, Kevin Jenson on trombone, and Jordan Kamalu on piano.

6. “I Remember You”

My father, Clifford Louis Lindeman (1910-1981), always had a song in his heart, and usually a cheerful word for everyone. Together with my mom, he fostered a passion for music throughout my family. One of his favorite songs was Frank Ifield’s version of the 1940s popular tune I Remember You, composed by Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer. My own “I Remember” (perhaps with echoes of Benny Golson’s “I Remember Clifford”, written for Clifford Brown) is a musical thank-you note and love letter to my dad for all that he gave me. Jory Woodis’s beautiful soprano is featured throughout. Do you hear the palindrome during the solo section?

7. “Verloren”

“Verloren” [for Murray Boren] in German means “lost.” I composed this three-part mini-suite in Berlin while a Fellow at the American Academy (2000). The piece begins with Ben Nichols’s lone tenor sax, leading to a rubato introductory section that features several instruments, including Jordan Kamalu’s piano. The next two sections combine a pair of contrasting Latin rhythmic grooves: the cha-chacha and mambo. I received much help from my friend, band mate, and collaborator, the percussionist extraordinaire Jay Lawrence, who contributes an instrumentairum (to quote Dan Morgenstern’s term) of the guiro, timbales, bongo bell, and cymbals throughout the Latin sections. Jay is paired with my equally exemplary good friend, Ron Brough, on glockenspiel (in the opening), and congas (in the later parts). During the cha-cha, Eric Backman’s lyrical solo on baritone saxophone is featured, followed by Ray Smith’s amazing piccolo. Highlights of the final (mambo) movement include the percussion exchanges between Jay’s timbales (left) and Ron’s congas (right), followed by some call and response between Austie Robinson’s trumpet and Jory Woodis’s soprano.

8. “October, Last”

“October, Last” is an attempt to musically depict my favorite month, which includes the birthdays of both myself and my wife, Sharon. Memories of spectacularly beautiful southern Indiana autumns waft through the piece. The enriched orchestration features some unusual instrumental techniques, including Ron Brough’s bowed and struck vibraphone, Aaron McMurray’s high double bass harmonics (also bowed), tuba (Steve Call), alto flute (Justin Hammer), and paired bass clarinets (Eric Backman and Derek Crane, who suggested it). I also attempted to echo a Mozart canon from the second movement of the Piano Concerto in Eb major, K. 271 (with thanks to Floyd Grave for pointing this out). The piano solo is by Jordan Kamalu, and Ray Smith performs the flute solo. Thanks to Eric Hansen, BYU Professor of Bass, for help with issues concerning bass harmonics, and Ron Brough regarding bowed vibraphone.

9. “With Wandering Steps”

“With Wandering Steps” is a piano feature for Jordan Kamalu. John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is the source of the title. This epic poem deals with the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis, concerning the Fall of Mankind, with Adam and Eve’s obligatory expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton sees this, however, as a positive event for the development of mankind, a necessary time of rebirth, rethinking, and reimagining. In this piece, I was attempting to compose in a different manner, with a non-functional bass line (which is frequently the melody), atonal harmonies, and unusual form. As I proceeded, I sometimes felt tentative and unsure, which seemed to be reflected in the music in an effective and interesting manner. Milton’s words describing Adam and Eve stemming from the end of the poem are quoted below. I am grateful to former BYU Academic Dean and Milton scholar, Dr. John Tanner, for his assistance: “Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; The World was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow, Through Eden took their solitary way.”

10. “Take a Jake Break”

The Day After Yesterday comes to a close with the composition entitled “Take a Jake Break” (with thanks to Ron Brough for the title). I have been fortunate to find inspiration in my family. “Jake Break” was written in London for my son, Spencer Jacob. The melody attempts to reflect his quirky, humorous, and strong-willed disposition, combined with his deep and intense emotion, and heart “as big as a watermelon,” as my dad would say. Good solos are found in Jordan Kamalu’s piano, Danny Burt’s trombone, Dallas Crane’s trumpet, and Ben Nichols’s tenor sax.

I hope you enjoy this labor of love!