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Mike Stern

Recognized as one of the finest electric guitarists among his peers, Mike Stern was born on January 10, 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in Washington, D.C. before returning to Boston to study at the Berklee School of Music. Stern was only 22 when he joined Blood, Sweat & Tears, for whom he played three years before signing on with Billy Cobham's jazz fusion outfit, which led to Stern's big breakthrough when Miles Davis enlisted him as guitarist for Davis' return from a five-year musical hiatus in 1981. Stern played and recorded with Davis until 1983, when Stern toured with Jaco Pastorius, but he rejoined Davis in 1985. In the meantime, Stern had completed work on his 1983 solo album Neesh, his debut as a bandleader. This time with Davis, Stern stayed on for only a year, after which he cycled through projects by David Sanborn and Steps Ahead while simultaneously recording his follow-up to Neesh, titled Upside Downside, which marked his first release for Atlantic Records' jazz division. Stern continued a steady string of releases for Atlantic over the next few years while continuing to play with several other projects, including Michael Brecker and the reunited Brecker Brothers, eventually scoring his first Grammy nomination with the release of Is What It Is in 1994, then garnering another nomination for his 1996 follow-up, Between the Lines. Stern received his third Grammy nod for his 2001 release Voices, which was Stern's first recording with vocals -- albeit wordless vocalese -- and also marked the end of his tenure with Atlantic. Stern issued These Times, his debut album for ESC in early 2004, and two years later, with a cast of impressive backing musicians (Richard Bona, Meshell Ndegeocello, Roy Hargrove, and Kim Thompson, among others), Who Let the Cats Out was released. In 2008, evidence of a dazzling show from that year's European tour was captured and released the next year on concert DVD New Morning: The Paris Concert. 2009 saw Stern earning yet another grammy nomination for 14th solo album Big Neighborhood, an album featuring guest work from artists such as fellow gunslinger guitarist Steve Vai and Medeski, Martin & Wood. He returned in 2012 with All Over The Place, working again with trusted producer Jim Beard. In 2014 Eclectic appeared, an ambitious collaboration with guitarist Eric Johnson and featuring guest spots from Stern's wife Leni Stern on vocals as well as singer/songwriter Christopher Cross. The album was recorded at Johnson's studio in a mostly live manner. ~ Gregory McIntosh
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: All Over The Place

1. AJ

2. Cameroon

3. Out Of The Blue

4. As Far As We Know

5. Blues For Al

6. OCD

7. You Never Told Me

8. Half Way Home

9. Light

10. Flipside

11. All Over The Place

x

Track List: Big Neighborhood

1. Big Neighborhood

2. 6th Street

3. Reach

4. Song For Pepper

5. Coupe De Ville

6. Bird Blue

7. Moroccan Roll

8. Long Time Gone

9. Check One

10. That's All It Is

11. Hope You Don't Mind

x

Track List: Who Let The Cats Out?

1. Tumble Home

2. KT

3. Good Question

4. Language

5. We're With You

6. Leni Goes Shopping

7. Roll With It

8. Texas

9. Who Let The Cats Out?

10. All You Need

11. Blue Runway

x

Track List: These Times

1. Chatter

2. Silver Lining

3. I Know You

4. Mirage

5. If Only

6. Street Rhyme

7. Avenue B

8. Remember (For Bob Berg)

9. These Times

10. What You Believe

11. Last One Down

x

Track List: Voices

1. One World

2. The River (Tongo)

3. Slow Change

4. Wishing Well

5. Still There

6. Spirit

7. What Might Have Been

8. Leni's Smile

9. Way Out East

x

Track List: Play

1. Play

2. Small World

3. Outta Town

4. Blue Tone

5. Tipatina's

6. All Heart

7. Frizz

8. Link

9. Goin' Under

10. Big Kids

x

Track List: Between The Lines

1. Sunnyside

2. The Vine

3. Wing And A Prayer

4. Lose The Suit

5. You Never Know

6. Tell Me

7. With A Twist

8. True Enough

9. Pages

10. Bait Tone Blues

Comments

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Awesome!!!
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Saw Mike at the 55 bar in September. Great show! A trio, which is the way I most prefer to see Mike. Stayed both shows. 2nd show was only about 15 people there. He asked me how I thought the sound was, and I said turn the reverb down 5%, otherwise it's perfect. So he did slightly turn reverb down. Beautiful show, really fine guitarist, very nice and hip person. Even better then the larger, very talented ensembles he usually puts together. One of the best guitarists around, if not best.
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b.g.kelly
A master!
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No doubt, Mike Stern another one of my very, very personal favorite guitarist!
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Beyond, beyond!
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Does he still play the 55 Bar? Had some good times there.
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Mr. Stern without any doubt is definately an outstanding guitarist,ma y GOD bless his talent! : )
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Had the pleasure of meeting this man. He was delightfully sweet and kind (what a player)!
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listening to Remember for BBerg....... n i c e . . . . . . . . t h a n k s ...great song!
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He flows from his Rock chops to straight ahead Jazz like turning a switch!
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Beautiful... L e n i ' s smile.....fr o m voices....(r e a l l y . . . l i k e all emotional... )
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Mean, real mean jazz guitar man!
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Saw him in boston more than a decade ago, Great show! Made my evening...I was not aware that he had recorded as often as he has...what luck! (Ours, that is...the listeners)
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ibperri
I had the opportunity to meet Mike in So. Africa and it was wonderful to sit and chat with him over breakfast. He's the real deal!!!!!!!! !
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Delightful! Stern is among the best there is!
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This CD is too funky to put into words, I love the groove.
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dkm444
Saw him regularly at 55 Bar in Greenwich Village in NYC in the late 80s/early 90s. Saw him at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA in the mid-late 90s. Fan-tastic - alway put on a really great show. Saw Leni Stern a few times too. Amazing people!
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Got the privilege to meet Mike before his show in St. Louis with Dave Weckl and crew. Such a friendly man. Humble and really funny too!
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Stern is the real third member of the Big Three: Sco and Metheny make up the other 2 thirds. His amazing chops sometimes obscure his great compositiona l skills. Check out Common Ground. Loved his work with Miles. His replacement in Davis' band wasn't bad either, John Scofield
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14739578
I just found out about this CAT great guitar player
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Nice guy down to earth saw the big neighbor hood in little tiny club ( 70 to maybe an hundred )...check out Leni his wife is no slouch ..would love to see him again Ron
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Insane chops.
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logbuilder45
The boy knows his axe, tasty chops and all the sides to go with em.
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kounsellor
Love his playing. Hate his tone, but love his playing.
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Mike Stern lines are a great craft of hard work and study, precise execution, and chromatic beboop that redefine the new jazz from the great unforgetable legends of Bob Berg and Micheal Brecker gone today but will never be never forgotten... Mike Stern will keep edging in stone the new licks for many players like myself to come
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Sick chops great live!
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Wow, this guy is good, real good.
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Playing at Grand St & West Broadway up the street from SoHoZat was the best live musical jazz I've ever experienced!
alan@babytoe s . c o m
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doctate1
I've had the distinct Honor and Pleasure of Seeing/Heari n g Mike Stern Live on numerous ocassions at Blues Alley in colaboration with Dennis Chambers. Wow! You have a Treat in store for You and Yours if you have yet to witness this gentleman's display of Love via his Guitar.
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tedbujalski
back to Metheny's '80's sound very nice......
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He has been in the playing company of greats like Michael and Randy Brecker...no small feat playing with these giants(oh we miss Michael sooo much)...but unfortunatel y Stern doesn't always get the press that he should...
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whoa!
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ladosiaarize
very nice.... soothing!!!
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Great melodies!! A great guitarist!

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