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Mike Stern

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Biography

Recognized as one of the finest electric guitarists among his peers, Mike Stern was born on January 10, 1953, in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in Washington, D.C. before returning to Boston to study at the Berklee School of Music. Stern was only 22 when he joined Blood, Sweat & Tears, for whom he played three years before signing on with Billy Cobham's jazz fusion outfit, which led to Stern's big breakthrough when Miles Davis enlisted him as guitarist for Davis' return from a five-year musical hiatus in 1981. Stern played and recorded with Davis until 1983, when Stern toured with Jaco Pastorius, but he rejoined Davis in 1985. In the meantime, Stern had completed work on his 1983 solo album Neesh, his debut as a bandleader. This time with Davis, Stern stayed on for only a year, after which he cycled through projects by David Sanborn and Steps Ahead while simultaneously recording his follow-up to Neesh, titled Upside Downside, which marked his first release for Atlantic Records' jazz division. Stern continued a steady string of releases for Atlantic over the next few years while continuing to play with several other projects, including Michael Brecker and the reunited Brecker Brothers, eventually scoring his first Grammy nomination with the release of Is What It Is in 1994, then garnering another nomination for his 1996 follow-up, Between the Lines. Stern received his third Grammy nod for his 2001 release Voices, which was Stern's first recording with vocals — albeit wordless vocalese — and also marked the end of his tenure with Atlantic. Stern issued These Times, his debut album for ESC in early 2004, and two years later, with a cast of impressive backing musicians (Richard Bona, Meshell Ndegeocello, Roy Hargrove, and Kim Thompson, among others), Who Let the Cats Out was released. In 2008, evidence of a dazzling show from that year's European tour was captured and released the next year on concert DVD New Morning: The Paris Concert. 2009 saw Stern earning yet another grammy nomination for 14th solo album Big Neighborhood, an album featuring guest work from artists such as fellow gunslinger guitarist Steve Vai and Medeski, Martin & Wood. He returned in 2012 with All Over The Place, working again with trusted producer Jim Beard. In 2014 Eclectic appeared, an ambitious collaboration with guitarist Eric Johnson and featuring guest spots from Stern's wife Leni Stern on vocals as well as singer/songwriter Christopher Cross. The album was recorded at Johnson's studio in a mostly live manner.

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Born:

10 January 1953 in Boston, MA

Genre
Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s

Followers

Contemporaries