Biographies

“Adegoke’s compositions and Iqua’s beautiful vocal work make this group outstanding.”
– Downbeat Magazine

Biographies

Adegoke Steve Colson

Composer, Pianist

Adegoke Steve Colson Biography

Adegoke Steve Colson, pianist and composer, has performed internationally as a leader of jazz ensembles ranging from trios to orchestras. Born in Newark and raised in East Orange, NJ, he received his degree from Northwestern University School of Music and lived in Chicago for a decade before returning to the East Coast where he now resides. November 13, 1989 was proclaimed Adegoke Steve Colson Day by the City of Newark in honor of the premiere of his multi-media work, Greens, Rice, and a Rope, at Newark Symphony Hall during the national celebration of New Music America.

A critically acclaimed figure in modern jazz, Steve’s compositions are finding their way into the “jazz standard” repertoire and are being performed and recorded by some of today’s jazz greats as well as by his own group. He became a member of The Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 70s, a musicians’ collective that has influenced music internationally in the 20th and 21st Century. Steve’s music has been compared to that of Monk, Mingus, and Ellington as well as Ives, Berio, and Stravinsky. He has received several commissions and awards for composition from organizations with interests in the arts, and has traveled internationally, performing with many talented artists. Those with whom he has worked or featured in his presentations include Muhal Richard Abrams, Pheeroan AkLaff, Kelvyn Bell, Ed Blackwell, John Blake, Hamiet Bluiett, T.K. Blue, Andrew Cyrille, Baikida Carroll, Anthony Davis, Richard Davis, Kahil El’ Zabar, Douglas Ewart, Rachelle Farrell, Malachi Favors, Joe Ford, Chico Freeman, Rafael Donald Garrett, Benny Golson, Michael Gregory, Craig Harris, Billy Hart, Graham Haynes, Mark Helias, Fred Hopkins, Joseph Jarman, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, George Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Steve McCall, Andy McCloud, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Rene McLean, T.S. Monk, Butch Morris, Dushun Mosley, David Murray, Hannibal Peterson, Rufus Reid, Max Roach, Marlena Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, Dakota Staton, Henry Threadgill, Steve Turre, James “Blood” Ulmer, Chris White, Ed Wilkerson, Reggie Workman, Rev. Frank Wright, and many others. He also regularly appeared with Spirit of Life Ensemble, and Amiri and Amina Baraka (Blue Ark).

Steve arranged and conducted the music of Willie “The Lion” Smith for the national Lost Jazz Shrines project, the outgrowth of a United States Congressional Resolution declaring Jazz a “national treasure.” The Lion’s” music represented the City of Newark, N.J., (one of eleven cities) and the concert was aired on PBS. This is one of several television presentations of Steve’s work in the U.S and abroad. Steve worked as Music Director for Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God, by Canadian playwright Djanet Sears, with a cast that included the legendary Carmen de Lavallade, and he performed in Amiri Baraka and Max Roach’s bopera, The Life and Life of Bumpy Johnson. Steve was also commissioned to collaborate with Amiri Baraka and Richard Wesley by The New Jersey Chamber Music Society. The second book of their series, “…as in a Cultural Reminiscence…,” was the first jazz orchestra work premiered at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) during opening season, 1997-98.

Steve has been an educator throughout his career. When the Artists in Residence program was conceived by The National Endowment for the Arts (1981) he was one of 23 jazz artists selected nationwide to pilot the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program. He has given workshops in the U.S. and abroad, and teaches at Bloomfield College and The Cali School of Music at Montclair State University (NJ) where his courses include World Music, Music in U.S. The African American Influence, Intro to Jazz, and Piano. He serves as “listening and history” instructor for NJPAC Jazz for Teens Program. Steve is married to Iqua Colson – singer, lyricist and arts administrator. They live in Montclair, N.J. and have two grown sons.

Steve’s work is on American, European and Japanese record labels including Columbia/Sony, Evidence, and Black Saint. On his latest CD as a leader, The Untarnished Dream, he leads a trio featuring jazz masters Andrew Cyrille and Reggie Workman, with wife Iqua on several vocal tracks. This CD, on the Colsons’ own Silver Sphinx label, was ranked by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010. Their prior Silver Sphinx CD, Hope for Love, was nominated for a Grammy. In November 2011 their label’s 1979 Colson Unity Troupe LP “Triumph!” was re-released out of London as a part of Soul Jazz Records Freedom Rhythm & Sound collection; book, compilation and re-issue series.

Adegoke Steve Colson - Short Bio

STEVE COLSON – aka ADEGOKE – pianist and composer, has performed internationally as a leader of jazz ensembles ranging from trios to orchestras. Born in Newark and raised in East Orange, NJ, he received his degree from Northwestern University School of Music and lived in Chicago for a decade before returning to reside on the East Coast. A critically acclaimed figure in modern jazz, Steve’s compositions are finding their way into the “jazz standard” repertoire and are being performed and recorded by some of today’s jazz greats as well as by his own group. He became a member of The Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 70s, a musicians’ collective that has influenced music internationally in the 20th and 21st Century. Steve’s music has been compared to that of Monk, Mingus, and Ellington as well as Ives, Berio, and Stravinsky. He has composed for theater, dance and multi media presentations and has received several commissions, including the first original jazz orchestral work performed at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Steve is a noted educator who has lectured and taught internationally. He has been a pioneer in arts education, having been one of the 26 artists selected nationwide (1981), by The National Endowment for the Arts, to develop the concept of Artist Residencies here in the U.S. Steve has taught music courses at Bloomfield College for 25 years and joined the faculty several years ago at Montclair State’s Cali School of Music. He is recognized for his work as a pianist and has traveled throughout the world with his groups and other leading artists performing in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His latest CD as a leader “The Untarnished Dream” features jazz masters Andrew Cyrille and Reggie Workman with his wife and collaborator Iqua Colson appearing on select tracks. This CD, released on the Colson’s label Silver Sphinx, received international airplay and rave reviews and was voted by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010. His early band The Unity Troupe was included in the prestigious Freedom, Rhythm and Sound Book / CD-LP compilation from Soul Jazz Records, London, UK. This collection/retrospective looked at the influential and independent musicians who took control of their music in the late 60s and early 70s – early roots of the “indie” movement. Steve’s work can also be found on American, European and Japanese record labels including Columbia/Sony, Evidence, and Black Saint.

Adegoke Steve Colson Discography

ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON DISCOGRAPHY

ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON & IQUA COLSON

“Triumph!” Silver Sphinx SS01

“No Reservation” Black Saint BSR 0043

“Hope for Love” Silver Sphinx SS12402

“ Untarnished Dream” Silver Sphinx SS12403

“ Freedom Rhythm & Sound – Revolutionary Jazz and The Civil Rights Movement”
Soul Jazz Records SUR CD 219

“ Triumph!” (re-issue From Soul Jazz / London) Universal Sound US CD40

STEVE with THE DAVID MURRAY OCTET
“New Life” * Black Saint BSR 0100
*One of the top 10 records of the decade (‘80’s): Gary Giddins/Village Voice

STEVE with THE ANDREW CYRILLE QUINTET
“My Friend Louis” Disk Union DIW 858

“African Love Supreme / Ode to the Living Tree” Venus Jazz TKCZ279098

“Ode to the Living Tree” Evidence ECD 22185-2

STEVE with THE BAIKIDA CARROLL QUINTET
“Door of the Cage” Soul Note 121123-2

“Marionettes on a High Wire” OmniTone 12101

STEVE with THE BUTCH MORRIS ENSEMBLE
“Conduction Collection – #25, 26” New World/Cross Currents 80478

STEVE with KAHIL EL’ZABAR, JOSEPH JARMAN, MALACHI FAVORS & KALAPARUSHA MAURICE McINTYRE
Bright Moments -“Return of the Lost Tribe” Delmark DE-507

STEVE with THE KEVIN COOK QUINTET
“Music for My Love Ones” Artistic Soundz ASE0001

ARTISTS’ RECORDINGS WHICH FEATURE
STEVE COLSON’S COMPOSITIONS

“ Encounter” – Trio Three Passin’ Thru 41212
Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille

“Now’s The Time” – New York Unit King Records KICJ 108
Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Richard Davis, John Hicks, Tatsuya Nakamura

‘One with the Wind’ – Hannibal Marvin Peterson Muse MCD 5523

Click here to download a pdf version of
Adegoke Steve Colson’s Bio.

Iqua Colson

Vocalist, Composer, Lyricist, Arts Administrator, Educator

Iqua Colson Biography

Iqua Colson has shared the stage with many of this era’s great artists. She was named a Vocal Talent Deserving Wider Recognition by Downbeat Magazine and has been recognized by Billboard Magazine for distinguished achievement as a lyricist. The international media has praised her placing her in the company of some of our finest known vocal innovators and stylists including Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Abbey Lincoln. She has six recordings, has led bands and collaborated with several artists, most frequently with her husband pianist/composer Steve Colson, performing in the U.S and overseas.

In addition to her recognition as a performer, Iqua has successfully initiated and/or produced concerts, festivals and arts education projects in Chicago, New York City, and the Essex County area of New Jersey. She has been the architect of several projects working with such organizations as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Symphony Space, The City of Newark, The Chicago Cultural Council, The Smithsonian, Columbia University, The Jazz Institute of Chicago, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, New Music America, The Museum of African American Music, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey Symphony, and New Jersey Chamber Music Society.

Born and raised in Chicago, Iqua had already studied piano for 7 years when she entered Kenwood High School where her teacher was acclaimed composer Lena McLin, the niece and student of the famed Thomas Dorsey, “father of gospel music.” She auditioned and was accepted to Northwestern University School of Music after three years of high school. She later transferred to Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University where she completed her undergraduate Music Degree. Iqua became a member of the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early ‘70s, a musicians’ collective that has influenced music internationally in the 20th and 21st Century. In addition to performing while in Chicago, Iqua was a leader in many successful initiatives, for the AACM and other arts organizations. These initiatives were implemented to present the arts to large and diverse audiences. She served as a member of The Board of Directors of The Jazz Institute of Chicago during which time the popular annual Chicago Jazz Festival grew to a week long event; and she was a founding member of FEPA, producers of Chicago’s internationally acclaimed “Underground Fest” and “Blacklight Film Festival.”

Iqua became a Music Team Leader in East Orange, New Jersey’s Washington Academy of Music at the school’s inception in 1994. An impressive and challenging music curriculum was developed at Washington helping to bring national recognition and awards to the school, and the school district. She then worked as the coordinator of arts programs. This work with the City and District administration, Emmy and Tony Award Winning Actress Ms. Cicely Tyson, and the talented arts staff assisted in particular award winning efforts and development of the Cicely L. Tyson School. This contributed to winning of a Demonstration Project Grant to build a new facility. In September 2009 the new Cicely Tyson Community School of the Arts, a state of the art K-12 school and Performing Arts Center opened. Iqua, as Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts for the East Orange School District, focuses on curriculum development and special projects in the arts to benefit students in all schools. She oversees an accelerated arts curriculum at Tyson as Department Chair for Arts which lead in part to their recent designation as a New Jersey Model School of the Arts. Iqua has a Masters of Public Administration/Arts Administration from Seton Hall University and currently consults on several projects that use of the arts as a catalyst for educational and/or social change. These projects include everything from neighborhood planning and arts venue design to arts curriculum.

When they left Chicago in 1982 Iqua and her husband, noted pianist and composer Steve Colson, moved to Montclair, New Jersey, a town 12 miles west of New York City. The Colsons now have two grown sons. Iqua continues to write, perform and produce music and other arts based projects. Her ideas are creative and fresh, lending much to the sound of today’s progressive music, whether expressed through her original lyrics, standard tunes, or vocal improvisation. Her 2005 CD “Hope for Love”, done in partnership with Steve on their label Silver Sphnix Recordings, was nominated for a Grammy. Her latest recorded effort, their most recent Silver Sphinx release The Untarnished Dream, received rave reviews internationally and was voted by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010.

Iqua Colson has been discussed in countless magazines, newspapers, periodicals, and in several books including:

Black Women & Music, More than the Blues (chapters on several influential women in music Leontyne Price) – Anthology of Essays/Interviews -edit. Hayes, Univ. N. Texas, 2007

A Power Stronger Than Itself – The AACM and American Experimental Music – George Lewis, U. Chicago, 2009

Freedom, Rhythm and Sound – Book & CD Compilation– Soul Jazz Records, London, U.K. – 2009

Iqua Colson - Short Bio

IQUA COLSON has been praised internationally by the media and placed in the company of some of our finest known vocal innovators including Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Abbey Lincoln, Iqua’s work has been discussed in countless periodicals and books including a chapter in “Black Women & Music, More than the Blues” – which also features the great Leontyne Price. Her industry accolades include Vocal Talent Deserving Wider Recognition by Downbeat Magazine and Distinguished Achievement as a lyricist by Billboard. A native of Chicago, Iqua was accepted to Northwestern University School of Music as a pianist after three years of high school. She was voted into The Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 70s, the influential musicians’ collective acknowledged worldwide as a primary influence in 20th and 21st Century music. She has recorded and performed in the U.S. and overseas collaborating with great artists, most frequently with her husband decorated pianist/composer Steve Colson. In addition to recognition as a performer/composer, Iqua has been the architect of several projects successfully initiating and/or producing concerts, festivals and arts projects in various U.S. cities and Europe. After moving to New Jersey Iqua worked with colleagues in the East Orange Public Schools to bring an impressive, innovative and challenging arts education curriculum and recognition to the district including the awarding of a Demonstration Project Grant to build The Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing & Fine Arts; a K-12 campus and Performing Arts Center. She has a Masters of Public Administration and often works as a consultant on projects that use arts as a catalyst for educational and/or social change. These projects include everything from neighborhood planning and arts venue design to arts curriculum. She has worked on three initiatives for the NJ Department of Education. Iqua’s 2004 CD Hope for Love with husband Steve was nominated for a Grammy. Her early band The Unity Troupe was included in the prestigious Freedom, Rhythm and Sound Book / CD-LP compilation from Soul Jazz Records, London, UK. This collection/retrospective looks at the influential and independent musicians who took control of their music in the late 60s and early 70s – early the roots of the “indie” movement. Her last CD The Untarnished Dream received critical acclaim and was voted by the International Jazz Journalists as one of the best Jazz CDs of 2010.

Iqua Colson Discography

DISCOGRAPHY FOR IQUA COLSON

IQUA COLSON & ADEGOKE STEVE COLSON

“Triumph!” Silver Sphinx SS01

“No Reservation” Black Saint BSR 0043

“Hope for Love” Silver Sphinx SS12402

“ Untarnished Dream” Silver Sphinx SS12403

“ Freedom Rhythm & Sound – Revolutionary Jazz and The Civil Rights Movement”
Soul Jazz Records SUR CD 219

“ Triumph!” (re-issue From Soul Jazz / London) Universal Sound US CD40

Click here to download a pdf version of Iqua Colson’s Bio

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