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Internationally renowned saxophonist/ composer/educator Dayna Stephens is a force to watch out for. A fluid, vigorous soloist with a warm, soulful sound, Dayna has also proven himself a master of composition and arrangement, a highly acclaimed band leader and an in-demand side man for contemporary jazz masters such as Kenny Barron, Al Foster, Idris Mohammed, Taylor Eigsti and Roy Hargrove.
2013 will prove to be another exciting year in the exploration of sound for Dayna, on April 23rd 2013, his third release “That Nepenthetic Place”(Sunnyside) features Ambrose Akinmusire, Jaleel Shaw, Taylor Eigsti, Joe Sanders, Justin Brown and special guest Gretchen Parlato. That Album has already received a 4 1/2 star review in Downbeat and comes on the heels of his second release “Today Is Tomorrow” (Criss Cross 1345) which was released on Feb 21st 2012, and it features Aaron Parks, Mike Rodriguez, Julian Lage among others. Due in the late summer of 2013, his forth release will be for Criss Cross Jazz as well. Titled “Ill Take My Chances”, it will feature Gerald Clayton, Charles Altura, Joe Sanders, Bill Stewart and Becca Stevens.
His debut album “The Timeless Now” (Contagious Music 2007) features jazz legends John Scofield, Taylor Eigsti, Ben Street, Eric Harland and Nick Vayenas. The record was immediately embraced by the jazz community. It received warm reviews from a number of magazines, including a four-star review in the Nov 2007 issue of “Downbeat,” and climbed to #11 on the Billboard jazz charts, #9 on “JazzWeek” and NPR top-10 Jazz Jewels of 2007.”
In recent years, Dayna has appeared on stage with numerous established musicians and other rising stars, including Terence Blanchard, Geoffrey Keezer, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Matt Wilson, Oliver Lake, Carlos Santana, Stefon Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Peter Apfelbaum, Tom Harrell, Gretchen Parlato, Josh Roseman, Ray Drummond, Winard Harper, Bobby Short and many others.
Dayna was born August 1, 1978 in Brooklyn, New York but was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He showed serious talent early on, winning many awards and scholarships to various music programs while attending the prestigious Berkeley High School. He then proceeded to the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a full scholarship named in honor of the Monterey Jazz Festival founder Jimmy Lyons. Following his graduation, Dayna was selected by judges Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard for the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC where he studied and played with Shorter, Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield and Mark Turner among others.