Multiple Grammy-nominated trombonist, composer, cartoonist and author Steve Wiest has been known for years as one of the most exciting trombonists on the planet. His career began as a soloist and writer for Maynard Ferguson and he has since performed with numerous artsits including David Clayton Thomas, Freddie Hubbard, "Blue" Lou Marini and Tom "Bones" Malone. Here is his bio in his own words:
Howdy folks! My name is Steve Wiest. I’m a composer, a trombonist, a cartoonist, I like to write science fiction and…what can I say? Rocked out incredibly funky jaw dropping ear candy is FUN!
Everything started to kick into high gear for me when my dear friends Jon Fairbank, Larry Osborne, Ray Hale, Randy Dickerson, Terry Overstreet, Archie Rawls, Mike Graham, Jimmy Cook and I put together a garage band in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the early 1970s…
But even as a little guy in elementary school, creativity was always my touchstone. My earliest memories are of creating things… drawings, games, little melodies on the beat up piano in our basement in Woodridge, Illinois, but always: creativity. I used to sing theme songs under my breath (and sometimes not so under my breath :) as I played Flash Gordon with my friends (like Edward “Buddy” Leach and Paul DeLorenzo) and searched the countryside for evidence of UFO visits (yes, I was an unusual child, to say the least) But through it all, was the idée fixe of creativity. I have been and ever shall be completely and totally right-brained. (This makes for a tricky fit for the real world, but so far, I have found some very creative work-arounds.)
After lots of moving around the country, my mother settled with her young family (three boys and one girl) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Coming from Chicago to Mississippi in 1969 was…well, a bit of a culture shock. But it is one that I treasure as it led me down many paths of creativity that I probably wouldn’t have travelled otherwise. Eventually, I joined the band program in school and then hit my “eureka moment” when my friends and I put together our first garage band.
Known as “The Tampa Tokin’ Hero Band” (SUCH a ‘70s name!) we played everything from ZZ Top, Chicago, Santana, Blood Sweat and Tears, James Brown, our version of school jazz band charts to The Ohio Players and didn’t think anything at all about how eclectic that mix of music was. We just dug it all! And, without knowing what I was doing, I wrote out horn parts for everything (You haven’t really lived until you’ve heard Grand Funk Railroad with horns …just sayin’)
Throughout my career, I gravitated over to jazz–which led me to my mentor Maynard Ferguson who gave me everything that I have today. Via Maynard, I met many of my heroes such as Dizzy Gillespie, Robert Plant, Neal Schon, David Clayton Thoms, Art Blakey, George Benson, Chicago, Al Jarreau, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Doc Severinsen, Snooky Young, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, Count Basie, Michael Brecker and J.J. Johnson to name but a few (WOWZA!!!) I even got to spend lots of time with the great Slide Hampton, who became my creative Yoda.
But my heart was always in rock and roll (Chicago’s Jimmy Pankow is still a hero…and now a great friend…yep, a life in the arts has MANY miraculous moments). So imagine how very fun it is for me to come full circle and return to a rocked out funky magic band of magnificent musos such as Vinyl Hampdin at this point in my career!
I now make my home in the impossibly beautiful front range Rocky Mountain area of Denver with my beloved family.
Vinyl Hampdin flows through my veins and pumps my heart man! It is a special joy indeed to make music with folks that you love to spend time with. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”…with a groove!
To all of you who listen to and enjoy the Vinyl Hampdin experience…
I love you madly!
To learn more about Steve Wiest, go to his website:
Steve recently with two original members of the Tampa Tokin' Hero Band! L-R: Larry Osborne, Wiest and Jon Fairbank.