A trio built upon jazz standards_


Jazz pianist Micheal Jefrey Stevens lives in Black Mountain, but he’s equally at home on stages throughout U.S. and internationally. His brilliant playing will be on display locally as he and the Michael Jefrey Stevens Trio present a concert of jazz standards at White Horse Black Mountain on Wednesday, July 19.

Drummer Rick Dilling and bassist Zack Page will join Stevens in playing selections from the Great American Songbook. But given the improvisational imperative of jazz and the musical chops of the players, every tune will emerge as something both familiar and new. 

Stephens has been associated with some of the most important figures in modern jazz over the past 40 years and is a celebrated soloist and composer in his own right. He’s written more than 320 works for configurations ranging from solo instrumentals to big bands. His recorded output dates to 1991, and many more releases have followed. The performance at White Horse will join the catalog for inclusion in the “Live at the White Horse” project, a venue where Stevens’ varied groups have been frequent visitors.

Dilling is an in-demand drummer not only for his tasteful musicianship but also for his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz styles. He’s on the jazz faculty at Appalachian State University, and performs regularly with the Todd Wright Quartet, The Wendy Jones Quartet, the Asheville Jazz Orchestra and many more top area jazz musicians. Says vocalist Wendy Hayes, “He’s there for the music first, not himself, which is precisely what elevates Rick to the level of a true artist.”

Page, a Virginia native, has established himself as a versatile go-to acoustic bassist on the local scene. He’s been a professional bassist since the early 1990s, gaining valuable experience with a range of jazz ensembles, theater companies and cruise lines.

Swing of things

Who: Michael Jefrey Stevens Trio

When: 7:30 p.m. July 19

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $10 advance, $12 door