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Steve Wilkerson

Steve Wilkerson

Steve Wilkerson, saxophone, flute and clarinet virtuoso, began his professional career at age 11 when he joined his father's dance band. He was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Tulsa where he was lead alto and jazz soloist for their award winning jazz ensemble. He also won the coveted Downbeat Combo Award, which led to three separate appearances at the Wichita Jazz Festivals. After graduating from TU, he toured with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as lead alto and jazz soloist. A move to Los Angeles brought him extensive work on tenor sax, earning raves from legendary jazz critic, Leonard Feather, who proclaimed him "a ruling master of the tenor sax" in the LA Times. His tenor CD with organist Joey DeFrancesco titled "A Blues Sorta Thing" and his bari sax CD, Shaw 'Nuff with his nine piece band received raves throughout the world as well as heavy airplay nationwide. "Shaw 'Nuff" was featured in a major article in Downbeat Magazine and was hailed by Jazz Journal International as one of the top jazz albums of the year. Steve has recorded with Shelly Manne, for PAUSA Records and The Frank Capp Juggernaut Band for CONCORD Records as well as recordings with The Jack Sheldon Orchestra and Quintet. A former student of jazz with Phil Woods, and Cannonball Adderley, and a classical student of Donald Sinta, Dwight Dailey and Robert Schott, Steve has performed with Barbra Streisand, Michael Bolton, Clark Terry, Blue Mitchell, Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan, the Temptations, Count Basie, Billy May, Ray Anthony, Nancy Wilson, Tony Bennett, Leslie Uggams, Sammy Nestico, Peter Nero, Lalo Schifrin, Pete Rugolo, Lanny Morgan, Jackie Kelso, Bill Greene, Leon McAuliffe, Eldon Shamblin, Glenn Campbell, Ray Barretto, Barry Manilow, Al Cohn, Andy Williams, Donna Summer, Sweets Edison, Ed Thigpin, Buddy Childers, Richie Cole, Don Menza, Chuck Finley, Pete Christlieb, Jay McShann, Warne Marsh, Herb Ellis, Herbie Hancock, James Gadson, Arturo Sandoval, Dianne Shuur, the New York Voices, Al Viola, Tommy Crook, and Phil Woods. Steve was also a member of the Johnny Mandel Orchestra, the Bill Watrous Big Band and was featured in concert with the Clayton/Hamilton Big Band. Steve’s latest CD releases, “Alone Together” feature him on bari sax with his quintet and “Quietly There,” with singer/guitarist, Andrea Baker where he is featured on tenor sax on the music of Johnny Mandel. Both CD’s are receiving rave reviews and are available on CD Baby.

During his time in Los Angeles, Steve was frequently featured at LA’s top jazz venues, including Catalina’s, Spazio’s, Steamer’s, Chadney’s, The Back Room, and at many of the LA Jazz Festival venues. His CD’s were prominently featured on KJZZ.

Steve is also a much-sought-after educator and clinician. He was a Professor of Jazz Studies at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California from 1989 until his retirement in 2015. His jazz bands won top awards at the Berkeley and Reno Jazz Festivals. In his 30 plus years as a jazz educator, Steve has taught jazz band, jazz improvisation, combos, jazz history, music history, jazz and classical saxophone and clarinet. He has taught for the prestigious National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan and has twice been a guest artist for that fine school. He has also given master classes at USC, UCLA, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, Tulsa University ,Townsend State, Maryland, University of Arlington, Texas, Friends University, Wichita, Kansas, UC San Bernardino, UC Riverside, Northeastern State University, Arizona Western College, Cal State Fresno, and Pasadena City College. A published writer for both Downbeat and the Saxophone Journal, Steve was named Outstanding Alumni from Pittsburg State University in Kansas where he completed a Masters Degree in Saxophone, studying with the renowned Robert Schott. His educational video, "The Art of Jazz Saxophone," is distributed by Hal Leonard. Steve’s second jazz DVD, Live and In Session is also available.

Steve was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2005.

Steve is an endorsing artist for Cannonball Saxophones, Jody Jazz Mouthpieces and Rico Reeds.