Steve Slagle

Steve Slagle
By Frank Tafuri

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Steve Slagle was born in Los Angeles, California where he got his first saxophone and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston on a DownBeat scholarship. One of his first gigs, at the age of 18, was in the Stevie Wonder Band, in Boston. Berklee is also where he met many musicians from all over the world whom he still remains close with. With his eyes on New York City, Steve moved there permanently in 1977, where he started to work with Machito and the Afro-Cuban Orchestra (lead alto) which was the band Charlie Parker and Dizzy had played with, as well stints with Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman and Cab Calloway. All of this was great once in a lifetime experience which you cant get any other way than doing it.

But his first recordings and tours in Europe were with The Steve Kuhn Quartet, following that with a stint with organist Jack McDuff. Joining The Carla Bley Band in 1981 and touring the world a lot with her Steve also played with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. In 1986 he recorded with Milton Nascimento and his band in Rio de Janeiro Brazil (the album ”Rio Highlife” named after his composition “Highlife” was released on Atlantic Records in 1986). Always composing and arranging along with saxophone, flute and alto clarinet, Steve became Ray Barretto’s musical director in 1988 and then arranger and lead alto saxophonist with the Charles Mingus Big Band in ‘91, with two Grammy nominations for recording with them. He has then worked with Joe Lovano in various combinations, among them the Nonet’s Grammy winner “52nd Street Themes” for Blue Note Records. Steve played and arranged for their second recording live at the Village Vanguard "On This Day" and their next Lovano Nonet project has just been recorded.

Throughout all of this while developing his own “sound” Steve has been composing new music and performing with his own groups. He has made five recordings for the Steeplechase label and “New New York”(2001) for Omnitone Records. Steve’s main focus lately has been the critically acclaimed Stryker/Slagle Band which he co-leads with long time partner guitarist Dave Stryker. They have made several recordings together but the last two have been under the Stryker/Slagle name - most recently “Live At The Jazz Standard” on Zoho Records has been called “...a field report from one of today’s most inspired two-man teams” - (Jazz Times).

A member of BMI, Steve’s publishing company - Slagle Music - has a long list of original compositions. His sax quartets are published by Advance Music and Mingus Big Band arrangements are published by Hal Leonard as well as currently played by the MBB.

Steve is a long time faculty member at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and is also a clinician and performer worldwide.


Artist’s website



Alto Blue


Alto Blue


Steve Slagle Plays Monk


Live at the Jazz Standard


Latest Outlook


Stryker/Slagle Band


The Scene



Panorama Records
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