Thursday, July 23, 1998
This weekend offers an opportunity to catch a top Hollywood composer and pianist--and part-time Peninsula resident--at work.
Stef n Dickerson, who mixes smooth jazz, pop and classical foundations with warm vocals, has been a shining star in the venue of composing, arranging, and producing since the late Henry Mancini first discovered him in New York and brought him to the California coast to play for the televised mini-series "The Thornbirds" in 1980. Since then, Dickerson has been highly sought after in the industry, particularly in Hollywood, for his musical scores as well as for his talent as a first-call session pianist. Dickerson has released two CDs, received a Grammy award nomination as best new contemporary jazz artist, is working on two upcoming CDs, and recently completed a musical score for an upcoming major motion picture.
Dickerson has globally toured, arranged, produced and done session work with such notable artists as Barbra Streisand, Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Earl Klugh, Julio Iglesias, Johnny Mathis, Harvey Mason (of FourPlay), and others. He has played on more than 60 soundtracks, including On Golden Pond, Yentl and several Aaron Spelling television productions.
Stef n''s first solo CD project, the Grammy-nominated Romanza, Themes of Love, released on Heads Up International, is a testimony to his uniqueness and fresh blend of contemporary jazz and the ever-present classical background. The lush, beautifully crafted production, containing original compositions, imbues subtle Brazilian elements combined with complex rhythms and infectious melodies. The orchestrated string arrangements on the album are profusely superb and exhibit the artist''s talent as an arranger, composer and conductor. Hollywood composer Johnny Mandel says, "Stef n''s new album is truly beautiful. It''s beautiful music which is beautifully played. The end result is like the ultimate warm bath."
Dickerson''s more recently released CD, Afterglow, is a totally different production with a pop-jazz feel geared more towards a smooth jazz audience. But the sound is too varied and unique to fit into such a neat little category, and this is surely proven by the wave of success in album sales and national radio play. Earl Klugh touts, "Stef n is an artist of boundless imagination and creativity. His compositions have a strong melodic heart and his new CD >[Afterglow] is a joy!"
Selections from both CDs have received airplay on local jazz station, KXDC (101.7 FM), especially the cuts "Pescadero Pointe" (from Romanza), and "Ecstasy" and "Afterglow" from (from Afterglow). cw
Stef n Dickerson is recording a direct-to-digital CD with a live audience at The Media Room in Pacific Grove on Friday and Saturday, at ?TKpm. Tickets: $20/advance; $25/door. 373-7379.