Steve Oliver & Humberto Velas
||Genre: Crossover Fusion|
| Performances at Java Jazz Festival:
Saturday March 8, 2008, Femina Lounge
Sunday March 9, 2008, Simpati
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|About This Act :|
Now that Steve Oliver\’s in the house, lighting up clubs, concerts, festivals and radio request lines all over North America, Disneyland\’s going to have to come up with a new slogan. Wherever he is, wherever he\’s performing, no matter where you hear his irresistibly melodic guitar lines and magnificently soulful voice-it suddenly becomes the happiest place on earth. Between the smooth, funky and cool, his wild and kinetic transformation into a human drum machine and percussion choir weakens the resistance of even the hardest core cynic of \”vocalese.\”
Performing an incredible 200 dates a year, the next superstar of adult contemporary pop and smooth jazz all but dares you not to tap your toes, sing along gleefully and smile like a kid at Christmas. He\’s doing it. And it\’s the real deal. No ego, no over the top flash, not trying to be too hip for the room and aloof for the fans. Just having a blast, sharing the joy of what he does-celebrating life and music. This jubilant, growing legacy continues in 2006 with the current release of his fourth album, \”Radiant\”.
In a world gone way too negative sometimes, Steve is like an oasis of sunny delight. If anyone thinks he\’s much too \”zip a dee doo dah,\” he says, \”What you see onstage is genuinely how I am. I love performing and making music, and when I\’m writing new songs, which is pretty much all the time, I\’m thinking of how they\’re going to sound live. The fans keep me motivated, and the key to my success is connecting with them and making them happy. They can see I\’m sincere. I have a genuine love of music and people.\”
All of this is brought to you by the power of Positive Energy, his honest to God, bright side of the street approach to life and just coincidentally, the title of his hit 2002 album, which hit the Billboard Top 20 and ranked #1 on the year end list of the fifty most played recordings throughout Canada in 2003, according to smoothjazzcanada.com. That means topping legends like David Sanborn, Steely Dan and Michael McDonald-and a lot of happy go lucky folks north of the border whistling along with the catchy single \”High Noon,\” which also reached #3 on the Radio & Records smooth jazz airplay chart in the U.S. and was one of the most played songs of the year in the format. All on an indie label and without any type of major corporate marketing push! The music is just that good. The folks who organize the National Smooth Jazz Awards took notice too, nominating the guitar and vocal sensation for Best New Artist and Best Guitar Player for 2003.
Actually, he was only \”new\” to those who for whatever reason missed his slate of incredible concert dates last year, which included spots at America\’s Jazz Festival in Maryland, the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival, Seaport in New York City, the Hyatt Newporter Jazz Festival in Newport Beach, CA, shared bills with Rick Braun in Philly and Michael Franks at Thornton Winery in Temecula, CA and six dates opening for current smooth jazz superstar Boney James.
Recent adds to this ever-expanding resume are appearances with Chris Botti (including the 2004 Berks Jazz Festival), The Rippingtons and at a set at the Barbados Jazz Festival. He may not cover the geographic range of a Pat Metheny, but combining his festival dates and regional concerts with weekly club performances throughout his adopted home of Southern California puts him in James Brown territory as one of the hardest working cats in contemporary music.
His hit 1999 debut First View was nominated for an AFIM (Association for Independent Music) Award along with albums by Nelson Rangell and Chuck Loeb for best smooth jazz recording of 1999. The album scored three hit radio singles, hit the Top 20 on the Gavin and Radio & Records airplay charts and earned Oliver the distinction of \”Debut Artist of the Year\” from the national publication Smooth Jazz News.
2006 looks to be Oliver\’s busiest traveling year yet as he hits the road in support of Radiant, which was produced by famed Spyro Gyra keyboardist Tom Schuman plus super producer Michael \”B\” and features four vocal tracks (more than ever before) and seven instrumentals. The diversity of the tracks will position the disc perfectly for aggressive marketing towards both smooth jazz radio and Adult Contemporary radio.
In a genre where radio is often more concerned with \”music to fit your lifestyle,\” many up and coming artists snag airplay by emulating their successful established heroes. But no one quite approaches Steve\’s charismatic mix of colorful acoustic guitar melodies and wild vocal percussion and \”vocalese.\” This must-see-and-hear trademark has been part of his repertoire since the beloved solo spotlights he did on tour with (former Rippingtons percussionist) Steve Reid\’s Bamboo Forest from 1996 until he began recording First View.
While he\’s toured and performed with an exciting list of genre stars and legends–Rick Braun, Peter White, Marc Antoine, Everette Harp, Larry Carlton, Gato Barbieri–it was Steve\’s high profile role in Reid\’s band that finally gave him the opportunity to emerge as a budding instrumental star. More than simply the lead guitarist, he became a true partner of Reid\’s shortly after joining the band in 1996, writing nine songs on the Mysteries album and three on Bamboo Forest\’s new Passion In Paradise.
In 1999, Reid\’s first official year away from The Ripps, Oliver increased his exposure further by playing 120 dates around the country with the band. While all of this ensured strong radio acceptance for First View, the guitarist had been itching to go the solo route for a number of years. He was playing clubs in his native Northern California, doing a one man band type gig, when he first met Reid as the percussionist\’s opening act, and was even signed to the indie label Kokopelli in 1997.
Growing up in Walnut Creek, California, his love for so many different styles and worship of every guitarist from Santana to Al Di Miola made every path an early possibility. \”In high school, I was playing in progressive rock bands in the style of Yes and Genesis, and trying to imitate the way they could so easily blend rock, classical and even a little jazz into the mix,\” he recalls. \”In 1988, I was in an eclectic band called Fragile Glass that toured with Eric Johnson and recorded a CD. Looking back, it\’s as though I had to go through a lot of phases to discover my true voice.
\”Music is therapy for me and makes me feel good, and I love exploring the possibilities in all the styles that I enjoy,\” he says. \”I\’m always thinking about how many people I will soon be sharing all this new music with. It\’s so much fun connecting with the audience and seeing them smile. They come to the show wanting to feel good, and I make sure they leave having been uplifted. It\’s very much a spiritual connection for me.\”
taken from : javajazzfestival.com/2008/artists