Steven Feifke Big Band
Title track from new album Kinetic

Steven Feifke Big BandTitle track from new album Kinetic

Kinetic, lead single from new album Kinetic

Gabriel King Medd – trumpet
Ulysses Owens Jr. – drums

The Steve Feifke Big Band is Steven Feifke on piano, Andrew Gould and Alexa Tarantino on alto saxophones; Lucas Pino and Sam Dillon on tenor saxophones; Andrew Gutauskas on baritone saxophone; Max Darché, John Lake, Benny Benack III, and Gabriel King Medd on trumpets (that’s Medd on the solo); Robert Edwards, Jeffery Miller, and Armando Vergara on trombones; Jennifer Wharton on bass trombone; Alex Wintz on guitar; Dan Chmielinski on bass; and Ulysses Owens Jr. on drums.

For nearly two years pre-COVID, Feifke’s big band held a popular monthly residency at Django in New York City. Since the pandemic hit, he’s been concentrating on other projects, like his “Sunday Evening Quarantine Concert Series” with Tarantino (discussed in this JazzTimes article). This weekly livestream event has been going strong for months and has raised over $10,000 for chosen organizations and charities—including those that provide COVID-19 relief grants to musicians and support racial justice—and for New York City jazz venues struggling under the weight of the pandemic. This summer, Feifke and Tarantino also launched “A Step Ahead Jazz,” an online educational platform geared toward jazz students of all ages and ability levels. The weeklong summer course served 60 students from all around the world.

Additionally, Feifke arranged, orchestrated, and conducted strings for singer Veronica Swift’s sophomore album, out next spring. He’s currently writing new music for a joint big band with lead trumpeter Bijon Watson called the Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra. The ensemble features musicians from all age groups and will shortly record its first virtual tracks—just in time to present at the 2021 JEN Conference.

About this particular piece, Feifke comments: “The funny thing about this track is that it is literally the first track we recorded of the entire recording session. Song 1, take 1 — everything about it is just energy right from the word ‘Go!’ Ulysses really brought the fire on this and it set an awesome tone for the entire recording process over the next two days.”