Steve Grossman, born on January 18, 1951, in New York City, and passing away on August 13, 2020, in Glen Cove, New York, was an American jazz saxophonist known for his work in the post-Coltrane era. Grossman played both tenor and soprano saxophone and was celebrated for his unique sound, which combined elements of bebop, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz.
Grossman’s passion for music began in his early years, initially playing the piano before switching to the saxophone. By the age of 16, he was already making a name for himself in the jazz scene, joining Miles Davis’s band in 1969 as a replacement for Wayne Shorter. This opportunity allowed Grossman to play alongside notable musicians such as Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette.
After leaving Davis’s band in 1970, Grossman played with the pioneering jazz-rock group Dreams, featuring musicians such as Michael and Randy Brecker, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. He then formed the short-lived fusion band Stone Alliance with bassist Gene Perla and drummer Don Alias. Throughout the 1970s, Grossman continued to work as a sideman with various artists, including Elvin Jones, Lonnie Liston Smith, and McCoy Tyner.
In the late 1970s, Grossman began focusing more on his solo career, releasing albums like “Terra Firma” (1976), “Born at the Same Time” (1978), and “Way Out East” (1979). His recordings showcased his exceptional technique and improvisational skills, often featuring long, intricate solos that pushed the boundaries of jazz.
In the 1980s, Grossman moved to Italy, where he found both artistic and commercial success. He continued to perform and record with European musicians, embracing a more melodic approach that resonated with European audiences. Grossman’s later work included albums such as “Time to Smile” (1994), “In New York” (1996), and “Quartet” (2000).
Steve Grossman’s career spanned over five decades, during which he made significant contributions to the evolution of jazz saxophone. His innovative playing style and dedication to pushing musical boundaries made him a leading figure in the post-Coltrane era, inspiring countless saxophonists who came after him.
Page last updated 3/19/2023.