The back story...
Saxophonist Bryan Steele is a "world" musician by necessity. Always interested in a variety of styles and musical genres, Steele has strived to incorporate and then expand on all the music that has influenced him. In the process, he has developed a unique voice and an "impressive style and technique" (Daily News, Durban, South Africa)
Bryan grew up in Syracuse, NY and had, as he describes, "a typical childhood". His early musical influences were those of the times, namely ‘70s rock music. However, when given the chance to choose a musical instrument, Bryan chose the alto saxophone. Throughout his school years, Steele won numerous awards and recognitions for his blossoming musical abilities. It was during these years (at age thirteen) that he began composing original music.
After high school, Steele studied at Ithaca College School of Music where, among other things, he seriously discovered jazz. A host of musical influences (John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny) would lay the groundwork for his own style. Steele’s college professors (Steve Brown, Dr. Steven Mauk, Rick Beato and John LaBarbera) also had a big influence on his development as an artist.
It was upon LaBarbera’s advice that, in 1991, Steele moved to Boston and began private study with jazz guru Jerry Bergonzi. Throughout the two year term, Steele worked hard to develop his own style. Encouraged by Bergonzi, Bryan began to explore all different kinds of ideas on the saxophone, which would later affect every aspect of his musicianship. These were truly the years of greatest strides.
In 1994, Steele took a post as guest lecturer in jazz studies at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. The position afforded him the chance to collaborate with (and be influenced by) some of the country’s best composers and musicians, and would be the beginning of Steele’s continuing love of African music. Steele turned many South African heads when he performed with his own group at the Johannesburg Guinness Jazz Festival.
Bryan Steele Group, Steele's first solo record, was released in 1997 on the LookWild Jazz label and has received acclaim both for its original compositions and its fresh interpretations of contemporary tunes. Bryan Steele’s second and most recent CD, Long before this, was released in June 2003 on the Edition Musikat label.sax
Steele has performed worldwide at acclaimed festivals such as the Guinness Jazz Festival (Durban, South Africa) and the Eclat New Music Festival (Stuttgart, Germany). To date, Steele has performed/recorded with music giants Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Steven Tyler, Chuck D., Busta Rimes, Blood Sweat and Tears and War.
In January 2004, Steele went out with the first national tour of Movin’ Out, the Tony Award winning Broadway musical featuring the music of Billy Joel and choreography of Twyla Tharp. After touring throughout the US, Canada and Japan, the tour ended in 2007.
Bryan is currently freelancing with a variety of artists and recording regularly on his own as well as other artists' records.