Dayna Stephens

Dayna Stephens: Right Now! Live At The Village Vanguard

In his 2018 book, Playing Changes, Nate Chinen argues that the fundamental jazz dialectic of the 1980s and 90s, namely tradition vs. innovation, was ultimately a false choice. Two years later, Dayna Stephens' Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard proves the point in the most eloquent way possible. In...
New York City,

'Right Now!' By Dayna Stephens Quartet

New York’s Village Vanguard is a stage where legends became known—and a grand place for recording a live album by a tenor saxophonist Downbeat calls “a rising star.” Dayna Stephens’ album was released at a time when the Vanguard remained closed due to COVID. The two-disc set includes material from his previous studio albums along with a batch of new compositions. The quartet ably supports Stephens as he traces impressionistic forms, sonically warm yet challenging, on his instrument in a style that occasionally recalls Sonny Rollins.

Dayna Stephens Fulfills Long-Held Dreams

Saxophonist Dayna Stephens’ worldview differs from that of most people. As the survivor of a rare kidney disease, he understood the threat of the impending global pandemic earlier than most. “At the beginning [of the COVID-19 outbreak], I was really freaked out, because I’m on immunosuppressant drugs to keep the kidney I received,” he recalled during a recent Zoom call. “I had a gig with [pianist] Kenny Barron in Atlanta on January 25, and I was afraid to get on an airplane. So, I drove from New York to Atlanta. People thought I was crazy.”