Feb 24, 2020
Now that Dayna Stephens seems fully recovered from the life-threatening illness (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis) that limited his touring for years, it’s a pleasure to see him getting the chance to make the recordings he has dreamed of making. His latest CD, Liberty, is his first full-scale trio session, bringing back two of his longest tenured sidemen, bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric Harland. The result is a bracing album of adventurous performances.
Allowing these three the space to interact and solo is always a pleasure. The album reaches into some of his best tunes of the past, and allows a resetting and reimagining of them for these three masters. He’ll be unveiling the new album with his trio on the West Coast this coming week, before returning to New York and Europe for the spring. He has been busy on other projects as well, and this fall will see the release of a live quartet album recorded at the Village Vanguard. Later this spring he will be in Israel for a week performing with Tami Hendelman and Sean Jones on a program of the music of Miles Davis.
I spoke to Dayna about his various projects, as well as his excitement at recording Liberty at Rudy Van Gelder’s famous studio in New Jersey. Musical selections from the new CD include “Lost and Found”, “Kwooked Stweet” (which is based on John Coltrane’s “Straight Street”) and “Wil’s Way”