Steve Ramsdell

Steve grew up in Solana Beach CA playing rock and original music. Studies with jazz guitarist Peter Sprague and an improvisation class with Jimmy Cheatham began adventures in the jazz idiom. While an undergraduate at Northwestern University, the focus was classical guitar with Anne Waller. There were numerous master classes with Oscar Ghiglia, Bob Guthrie, the Assad brothers and other notables of the classical guitar world. Steve also performed in concerts and clinics with jazz legends such as Rufus Reid, Barry Harris, John Abercrombie and many others while at NU. Experiences at the Bloom School of Jazz include studies with David Bloom and clinics with Randy Weston, Johnny Griffin and John Scofield.

Editorial and transcription work was done for Paul Berliner as he completed his tome Thinking in Jazz. Later explorations of the music of Zimbabwe occurred in performances with Berliner’s ensemble. Steve’s interview with John Abercrombie was published in the IAJE Journal (1996). Further post graduate studies have led Steve to folkloric workshops in Brazil (1997) and Cuba (1998).

As a freelance musician in Chicago, Steve has performed in a wide range of situations. An extended run as one of the house guitarists at Geja’s Cafe allowed for the development of Steve’s solo playing. Steady gigs over the years at clubs such as the Bop Shop, the Underground Wonder Bar, Magoo’s Underground Lounge, Phyllis’ Musical Inn, Joy Blue and Katerina’s have nurtured his ensemble skills. Steve has performed his own compositions for the Chicago Jazz Composers Collective, Bernie Sahlins’ production of the Cure at Troy and concerts at numerous colleges. Performances with the Arts Center Jazz Ensemble at the College of DuPage keep Steve in touch with the big band experience. Work with fellow Wheaton Conservatory faculty includes performances of pieces by Astor Piazzolla and George Crumb. Steve was also a featured performer of Mario Casteluovo-Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano with the New Classic Singers.

Steve has maintained a busy teaching schedule at College of DuPage since 1994, Wheaton College since 1998, Benedictine University 1996-2002, and the Merit Music Program 1993-1997. Summer music workshops include Music on the Fly 2002, 2003 and the Northwestern University Summer High School Institute 1991-1995.