Chico State Jazz X-Press Joined by Navy Commodore Saxophonist Chief Steve Williams for Spring Concert
CSU, Chico’s Department of Music presents the annual spring semester jazz concert, Up Jumped Spring (formerly titled “Spring is Here”), featuring the Jazz X-Press and Quincy High School Jazz Ensemble, Saturday, April 21st at 7:30 p.m. in Harlen Adams Theatre.
Works will include big band arrangements, contemporary jazz works, and student compositions. Special guest artist for the concert is Chief Steve Williams, sax player/composer of the U.S. Navy Commodores Jazz Band.
“It is a great honor to have Chief Williams perform with us,” said Rocky Winslow, Department of Music faculty member and conductor/music director/trumpet player of the Jazz X-Press. “Many of us were thrilled to hear Chief Williams playing this past November at the standing room only concert given by the Navy Commodores in Laxon Auditorium. Steve has been the lead alto for the Commodores for 18 years now and his playing will leave you breathless.”
The Jazz X-Press has been rehearsing several of Chief Williams’ compositions and are looking forward to performing them at the concert. Soloists for these works will include Chief Williams, Winslow, and members of the Jazz X-Press.
The Jazz X-Press is also looking forward to performing for the first time an original composition by its lead trumpet player, Chris Navarette.
The Quincy High Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Chico State Department of Music alum Tanner Johns, opens the concert.
“This is guaranteed to be another Jazz X-Press goody, so get those calendars marked and get ready for a fantastic night of entertainment,” said Winslow.
Advance tickets, at $15 adults, $13 senior citizens, and $6 students and children, are available at the University Box Office, 898-6333; add $2 for tickets purchased at the door. For disability-related seating please call 898-4325.
Steve Williams Bio
Steve Williams, a native of Pensacola, Fla., joined the Navy Band Commodores in March 1994. He has been the group’s lead saxophonist since 1997 and was its music director from 2003 through 2009. He has composed/arranged over 50 compositions for the Commodores including arrangements for guest artists Branford Marsalis, Eddie Daniels, Jerry Bergonzi, Jim Snidero, Ralph Bowen and Antonio Hart. Williams has appeared on six albums with the group and produced its recently released CD, “Directions.”
As a civilian, Williams has appeared on several albums including the Grammy winning “Caribbean Jazz Project/ Afro-Bop Alliance Big Band featuring Dave Samuels.” He played lead alto sax with The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and was a semi-finalist in the 1988 Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search. During his 35 year career as a free lance musician he has performed with Joe Williams, James Moody, Eddie Daniels, Marvin Stamm, Chris Potter, Bill Watrous, Dick Oatts, Lew Tabackin, Bob Mintzer, Linda Carter, The Temptations, Rita Moreno, Jim Neighbors, Linda Lavin, Hal Linden, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Al Hirt, Boots Randolph, Wayne Newton, Maureen McGovern, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra and many others. He has performed with The Fort Worth, Richmond and Baltimore Symphonies. Prior to joining the Navy Band, Williams was a bandmaster and sideman with Crystal, Princess, Norwegian Caribbean, Premier and American Hawaii Cruise Lines. In early fall 2012 he will release his first big band album entitled “Jazz Nation with special guest Eddie Daniels.”
Williams attended North Texas State University where he played lead alto saxophone in the famed One O’ Clock Lab Band. While there he studied saxophone with Jim Riggs. He briefly attended Florida State University where he studied saxophone with Patrick Mieghan and improvisation with Bill Kennedy. During these collegiate years Williams led an ensemble that won the 1988 National Collegiate Jazz Competition. While in High school he studied music with his father, Dr. Grier M. Williams and saxophone with Dr. Eugene Gonzales.
Williams and his wife Marie reside in Springfield, Virginia; a suburb of Washington, D.C. He has three children and four grandchildren.