Jazz saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens is an adept post-bop-influenced musician who has worked with a bevy of heavy-hitting jazz artists. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Stephens attended both the Berklee School of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz before embarking on his professional career. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Phil Ranelin, Taylor Eigsti, Sachal Vasandani, Gerald Clayton, and Gretchen Parlato, among others. As a leader, he debuted in 2007 with The Timeless Now and followed up with 2012's Today Is Tomorrow.
Around this time, Stephens revealed that he had been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSG), a disease that attacks the kidneys and requires regular dialysis treatments and, in Stephens' case, a long-term need for a kidney transplant. Despite his struggles with FSG, he continued to perform and record, releasing two albums in 2013, That Nepenthetic Place and I'll Take My Chances. A year later he delivered Peace, featuring guitarist Julian Lage, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Eric Harland. He then joined fellow saxophonist Walter Smith III for 2015's sextet date Reminiscent. In 2017 Stephens reunited with Mehldau, Grenadier, and Harland for Gratitude. ~ Matt Collar