12 Songs, 44 Minutes


About Dexter Story

Lifetime Los Angeleno Dexter Story is a musical polymath -- a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, songwriter, producer, and music director.

Known for decades by musicians as a first-rate studio and live sideman who is as proficient in soul and jazz as he is funk, rock, pop, and global folk styles, he made his solo debut while in his late forties.

Story was named after the jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon and raised in a household where music was pervasive. He began taking music theory, guitar, and piano lessons at an early age, and was fronting local Los Angeles bands and playing clubs by age 14.

After earning an undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley where he performed with a distinctive array of musicians --Wynton Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Ernie Watts, John Stubblefield, Slide Hampton, Jeff Narell, and Eric Reed among them -- Story worked in various facets of the music industry. He served as marketing director at Priority, Def Jam, and Bad Boy Records, and was a talent buyer for the legendary L.A. club Temple Bar.

Story's earliest documented recorded appearance is as a backing vocalist on Dwight Trible's Living Water album in 2004. A year later, as a founding member of the Life Force Trio, he played several instruments, produced, and sang on tracks from the jazz singer's Love Is the Answer set, issued by Ninja Tune. Life Force Trio -- whose other members include Carlos Niño and Andres Renteria -- issued Living Room on Plug Research in 2006. Story also contributed to Niño's and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson's classic Fill the Heart Shaped Cup from 2007.

Story regularly collaborates with Niño, not only in the Life Force Trio, but in the multi-generational, poly-cultural jazz and soul group Build an Ark (which also includes Atwood-Ferguson, Trible, and trombonist Phil Ranelin). Life Force Trio has toured, performed and/or recorded with Sa-Ra, Madlib, Mark de Clive-Lowe, AmmonContact, Rumer Willis, Kamasi Washington, Gaslamp Killer, Nick Rosen, and Kelis, to name a few.

Story guested as a drummer in Todd Simon's Ethio-Cali ensemble in 2011, and later became their arranger. It was there that he fell in love with Ethiopian music, though he'd been studying various forms of the continent's folk, pop, funk, and jazz styles for decades.

Story's solo debut, the spiritual soul album Seasons, was released in February of 2013 on Kindred Spirits. Its guest vocalists included Gaby Hernandez, Waberi, Jimetta Rose Smith, Nichelle Monroe, i_Ced, and Erik Rico.

The singer and songwriter began exploring East African and Caribbean themes in tunes he was composing (one a day) for a year. After serving as music director for the 2014 Wattstax Revisited concert, he signed to Miles Cleret's Soundway label and began working on a follow-up album with Niño as a co-producer. The finished product, Wondem, was deeply influenced by East Africa, albeit through a Californian's sonic worldview. Story's musical guests included Clive-Lowe, Atwood-Ferguson, Yared Teshale, Damon Aaron, drummer Te'Amir Sweeney, and many more. The album was released in late October 2015.



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