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“Stephen Duke played the music with a gorgeous tone and moved easily between, say, the Coltranesque leaps and the supple fluidity of the Hodges pastiche.”

Allan Kozinn, New York Times, September 1996


“…a very left-of-center tribute to Thelonious Monk….Duke reminds us of the bebop revolutionary’s strong impact on the avant-garde….[Duke] often brings an eerie sort of beauty to his `outside’ improvisations…”

Jazziz, December 1995


“…Altogether too infrequently, it happens that a very rare performer, a master composer, and an equally outstanding piece come together to create one of those moments that define concerts and even entire events. Stephen Duke’s performance of Larry Austin’s Tableaux: Convolutions on a Theme was one such prize. Seldom do a performer, composer, a piece, a time and a place coalesce into a musical “rapture” as was the case with Tableaux. Just one of those rare moments that render a given day unforgettable.”

James Phelps, Computer Music Journal, Summer 2005.


“The performance by Steve Duke is remarkable. He effortlessly traverses the development of Bierce’s technical mastery of the saxophone throughout the chronology of the opera. From Bierce’s statement, “By the way, lately I’ve taken up the saxophone,” in Scene 2, to the accomplished virtuosity of  “The Definitions Aria” and the beautiful “Saintly Jam,” Steve Duke magnificently performs a convincing array of blues and jazz creating a gifted partnership with the elegance of Mr. Waschka’s algorithms.”

Mary Hope Simoni, Computer Music Journal, Fall 2007


“Duke does extremely well in immersing himself within the role of Bierce…Duke’s control as well as flexibility of instrument certainly serves him well in negotiating the demands of this piece. In each case when he performs the saxophone, Duke is able to bring his music to life and provide it with the appropriate personality at the appropriate time.”

Frank Bongiorno. Saxophone Journal, March/April 2003


“Expertly performed by saxophonist Steve Duke (whose amazing versatility allowed him to play the jazz-inspired BluesAx followed by the classically-influenced Tableaux), BluesAx traverses through and reveals the excitement, virtuosity, and passionate character of jazz. Duke’s powerful, inspired improvisations made the piece sing, as he flowed effortlessly through this challenging, virtuosic, stylistically varied work, conjuring the jazz legends through his instrument. Duke’s spontaneous lines, imbued with historical retrospection and colored by modern invention, blended with the accompanying computer music, which at times provided a background montage and at other times served as an ensemble accompaniment for his solos.”

Elainie Lillios, Computer Music Journal, Spring 2012


“This recording of Tableaux: Convolutions on a Theme offers exactly what you would expect from saxophonist Stephen Duke (alto saxophone) – a commanding, compelling, virtuosic performance, rich with both delicate shading and dramatic flair. A rare breed of performer indeed, Stephen Duke “becomes” the piece – lives it – infuses it – and it is virtually impossible for an audience to be even slightly inattentive during one of his performances.”

Jim Phelps, Computer Music Journal, Spring 2007



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