Acoustic pianist plugs in for this jazz show


Asheville area jazz fans know Michael Jefry Stevens well. He’s everywhere, performing in a whirl of venues, ensembles and styles. His fans also know that any project he’s involved in will feature top-drawer musicianship.

Yet another facet of Stevens’ versatility and compositional flair will be showcased at the White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, Jan. 29 as the MJS Electric Band takes the stage with its original brand of jazz fusion.

Stevens is best known as an acoustic pianist. But he’ll plug in his keyboards for the upcoming White Horse show. His electric efforts focus on original music inspired by jazz fusion greats Weather Report, Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, Miles Davis’ electric work, John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and others.

With the MJS Electric Band, compositional elements provide cohesion, but there’s considerable room for individual and collective improvisation within the framework. In 2014 Stevens recruited a group of experienced and flexible players from the area for a Weather Report tribute show. Vibraphonist/percussionist Jason DeCristofaro and bassist Zack Page have been carried over from that project into the MJS Electric Band.

With the addition of drummer Bill Berg and Tim Doyle on guitar, the group’s current incarnation took shape after award-winning jazz violinist Christian Howes recently joined up.

Jazz plugged in

Who: MJS Electric Band

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 29

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $10 advance, $12 door