Steve Klink

Folkbop and the Midwest Gospel Re-SOULution

  Watch Trio Demo video, listen to a snippet, read some press, or see the band live:


  • American piano player Steve Klink has recorded with Gregory Hutchinson ("Blue Suit" - ACT Music), performed with Jeff Hamilton and Dick Oates and has sold over 20,000 CDs worldwide. After studying at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Jimmy Guiffre, George Russell, Stanley Cowell, Jim McNeely and Dave Holland, Steve had his first successful tours in Europe (Neuburg Birdland, Schloss Elmau, Quasimodo Berlin, Fabrik Hamburg, Radio + TV recording WDR, NDR, BR, “Wir Jazz-Wunderkinder!”) when his CD “Feels Like Home” (minor music) became one of the most popular sold jazz CDs in Germany.
  • After moving to Ljubljana to work with Tadej Tomšič (Adam Nussbaum, Peter Erskine, Clark Terry, conductor European Jazz Orchestra 2010) and writing over 20 big band arrangements for Big Band RTV Slovenia, Steve is starting to tour again around Europe with his new trio consisting of bass player Volker Heinze (Kenny Wheeler, Wolfgang Engstfeld, Lew Soloff, Gunter Hampel, Charlie Mariano) and drummer Marcus Rieck (Benjamin Schaefer Trio, John Marshall, Johannes Enders, Silvia Droste, Lyambiko, Ulita Knaus).
  • The Steve Klink Trio was one of six acoustic piano trios chosen Europe-wide to compete in the BMW World Jazz Award: "The Art of Trio". Watch new videos from this event here
  • Steve is currently working on a new big band CD (“Love You Madly” feat. singer Mia Žnidarič and Tadej Tomšič) to be released in October 2010; and a new trio CD to be released in 2011. His most recent trio CD: Searching the Blue has been re-released with a new design and live bonus tracks. See it here
  • Steve wrote the music and arrangements for horns and strings on celebrated jazz singer Mia Žnidarič's last CD: "Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra", two songs of which have been released on the German record label Meyer Records' :"Various Artists - Meyer Records Volume 2" both as a CD and vinyl LP.
  • Steve had the opportunity to write 8 new compositions and big band arrangements for Big Band RTV Slovenia. The music was broadcast Europe-wide on the national radios of Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria, Spain, Latvia, Greece and Slovenia.

New CD: Searching the blue (You will find Steve's Bio further down)

"I really wanted to take the music back, all the way back, to my roots," said Steve Klink to a journalist recently in describing his long-awaited new CD, Searching the Blue. Since the success of Feels Like Home and Places... (instrumental tributes to singer/songwriter icons Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell respectively) and Blue Suit (recorded with drummer Gregory Hutchinson), "...I have always wanted to do an album of all-original material that describes me and the musical world I grew up in." This talented piano player/composer was raised in America's heartland and his deep emotion and passion for music can be felt in every note he plays. "The Midwest of the US is a special place. Off the beaten track, it does not feature the congested jazz scenes of America's big cities, rather, when I was growing up, it was about Folk Music, Blues and space."

Steve always knew that he would write music, and the wide-open plains of his youth created the pallette upon which he assimilated more and more influences. As a child he journied with his family across Eastern and Western Europe before he moved to Boston and then to New York. "No matter where I found myself, I was always collecting and listening to music, just writing more and more." As a student of jazz composition at The New England Conservatory in Boston, Steve felt a need to reduce and miniaturize, to get away from the modern idioms of mainstream jazz. "Although the music on this CD is mainly derived from the jazz tradition, the word 'jazz' has become too ambiguous a term for me. 'Jazz' can in different contexts mean everything today from pop to Neumusik. On Searching the Blue I like to call this music Folkbop because it is basically dealing with different kinds of American folk forms and has nothing to do with the more "intellectual" elements of jazz at all. Except perhaps for a bit of Bebop a la Bud Powell..."

Folkbop is then a blend of the folkier elements of the jazz tradition: Blues, Soul, Gospel and even Swing, together with Hardbop and Bebop. All this combined with the Folk music of the Midwest. "Guitar is for sure the basic American folk instrument. As a pianist playing with many different guitarists, I had to change the way I thought of the piano..." Wide-open voicings, spaced similarly to the open strings of a guitar, Steve's simple, transparent piano style and use of Folk/Country idioms is reminiscent of Ray Charles' sojourn into Country music. "In retrospect, growing up in Iowa was great. There were fantastic bands and artists like Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey and Big Wooden Radio. Nearby in Chicago there were Blues piano players like Sunnyland Slim. Bluegrass bands were passing through all the time on tour between the coasts. "

The diversity of original music on Searching the Blue is impressive. A delicious blend of down-home blues, luscious ballads, sizzling up-tempos, canons, fugues and gospel shouts, it represents the culmination of many years of hard work. "Each song is its own little musical world, concisely arranged, similar to the way a singer/songwriter would write each tune. Basically the piano trio, featuring Marcus Rieck on drums and Volker Heinze on contrabass, provides the foundation on which each world is built". So compositions like "Starting Over" begin as a country-fugue and develop into a blues march a la Gene Harris and the Three Sounds. "Figurin' a Question" is a contrabass-canon theme that develops first into a burning up-tempo blues and returns as a counter theme in "Askin' " as a country/gospel extended work of multiple forms. The CD also features some stellar live performances and opens with a bugaloo from the Quasimodo jazz club in Berlin, part of Minor Music's "Wir-Jazz Wunderkinder" tour.

In Europe the response to Steve's music has been tremendous. Germany's Der Spiegel wrote: "...most of all Steve inspires us with his energetic drive and his connection to Gospel and Blues: a totally enjoyable experience, not just for jazz fans!" Recently Steve's music was featured in a continent-wide broadcast of Europe's national radio stations sponsored by the European Broadcast Union.

Steve Klink's music is here to stay. Searching the Blue takes the listener on a journey across a romantic era of America's rich musical tradition and through the history of its folk forms.

Searching the Blue (DMG 54.218061.2)

Steve Klink. Bio

Steve Klink's funky piano style together with his distinct songwriting and arranging abilities makes for a striking blend of jazz, gospel, swing, blues and folk. "On the piano [Klink] tells little stories that reveal their message to every listener..." (Kieler Nachrichten). Taking his audiences on voyages through musical styles, times, and places, Steve is a traveller, "one of those magicians who can wake up the tradition and bring it to life with just ten fingers and eighty-eight keys; who can make old sound new and new sound old...In his playing even more than in swing, blues, and bebop - there is the pure joy of story-telling. And he's got a lot to tell"(Tip Berlin). Writing for Germany's Spiegel, Peter Bölke calls listening to Steve's music "a totally enjoyable experience, not just for jazz fans" And the KulturSpiegel says: "[this young] piano player digs into the keys with such powerful joy that the sparks start to fly."

Who is Steve Klink? A piano player and composer born deep in America's heartland, Steve spends his time working and performing in Europe. With his trio he has released over 10 CDs, the last three of which were released under his own name and have been particularly well-received in Europe and abroad.

In 1999, with the support of ACT Music's Ziggy Loch, Steve was able to release Blue Suit with drummer Gregory Hutchinson. This swinging disc of mostly original material immediately i caught the public ear: "...The most remarkable debut album of the year..." (Ultimo). "..[Steve packs] everything into his first CD that makes the blood start to boil: blues, folk, gospel, funk. A pure joy to listen to." (Peter Bölke, KulturSpiegel). "The jazz tradition begins to live again, with passion..."(Ralf Dombrowki). "Vitality and the joy of playing are the foundation of [Stever's] swinging trio production..." (Jazz Podium).

More acclaim followed. In 2000 Steve was invited by Minor Music label chief Stefan Meyner to produce a series of CDs featuring songs by two of today's most revered and venerable songwriters, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Having been himself a lifelong fan of both, Steve felt honored to work out his favorite songs in a miniature, intimate setting with his trio. "His new record Places to come from, Places to go proves that Steve Klink is a man of the extraordinary...' (Jazz Podium). "You must hear this record, to experience it and to tell others about it. Steve Klink interprets fifteen songs of Joni Mitchell and enhances them with a new point of view, with new horizons and new charm." (Music Outlook). "...A real work of the heart..." (Jazz Thing). "Feels Like the name of the most beautiful homage to Randy Newman...following in Newman's footsteps, Klink shows himself to be a master of musical reduction to the barest essentials..." (Klassik Heute). "These interpretations bring a stimulating, new perspective to the refined... and solid compositions of Randy Newman." (Frankfurter Rundschau). "Fantastic!" (KulturSpiegel). "...Fourteen classic Newman songs radiate a relaxed jazz atmosphere..." (For Him Magazine). "This record has everything: enthusiasm, spirit, passion, melancholy..." (InMusic).

Steve was offered two more opportunities to record in 2003, one with the singer Mia, a talented and beautiful new voice in jazz on the European scene, and the other for Tuey Connell, a dynamic performer whose rich vocal sound, guitar-and-banjo playing and songwriting make for a ranging, roots-oriented music. In Under the Influence, Steve and his trio backed up Connell and special guest saxophonist Geof Bradfield on a series of standards, blues-grooves and juicy Connell originals. "Tuey Connell is truly unique among singers and players..." (The City Paper, Nashville) Featuring six big band arrangements by Steve and five original songs, Mia's latest CD, Too Close For Comfort, was recorded with the Big Band RTV Slovenia in Ljubljana. With her big, warm voice transporting audiences to the smoky jazz world of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn or Ella Fitzgerald, Mia commands a clearness of tone that shines on the folky side of her repertoire, including traditional tunes from her native Slovenia. "An outstanding vocal capacity, her natural interpretation of passionate ballads... or of shameless passion...all this expressed with an unusual virtuosity and truthfulness." (Delo, Ljubljana)

Steve has performed extensively for television and radio with his trio, and in the last 6 years alone has performed over four hundred concerts. He is currently working on a new CD of all original material, which will span the musical spectrum from his funky, gospel trio tunes to songs in the folksy, Midwestern style of his homeland.

Steve Klink album, 'Searching the Blue'
"Searching the Blue"

Mia Znidaric Album, 'Invisible Orchestra'. Arrangiert Steve Klink
"Invisible Orchestra"

Mia Znidaric Album 'Too close for comfort'. Arrangiert Steve Klink
"Too close for comfort"

Steve Klink Album 'Places to come from ...'
"Places to come from..."

Steve Klink Album 'Feels like Home'
"Feels like home"

Steve Klink Album 'Blue Suit'
"Blue Suit"

Mia Znidaric Album 'Pobarvanka'

Tuey Connell Album 'Under the Influence'
"Under the Influence"

Mia Znidaric Album 'Iskre'

Mia Znidaric Album 'I wish I knew how'
"I wish I knew how"

Mia Znidaric Album 'Hold my hand'
"Hold my hand"

Steve Klink Trio Album 'Live in Concert'
"Live in concert"