News and Updates

Kenny Wheeler Tribute featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America

NPR’s Jazz Night In America hosted by Christian McBride devoted last week’s program to the Kenny Wheeler tribute project with I co-led with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen featuring Geoffrey Keezer, Martin Wind, and Jon Wikan!

Listen to the radio program

Watch the concert

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Steve Treseler pay tribute to the life, legacy, and music of the great Kenny Wheeler (1930 - 2014).Huge thanks to NPR Music, The Royal Room, Earshot Jazz, John Gilbreath, Wayne Horvitz, Jim Wilke, WGBO, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Robert Lang Studios! Look for the Wheeler tribute record later this year.

Band photo by Jim Levitt


UW Master’s Recital

Come celebrate the culmination of my graduate studies at University of Washington this Thursday 5/28 at The Royal Room to hear the debut of two new projects. One set at 6:00, no cover!


Kenny Wheeler Tribute This Sunday on KPLU’s Jazz NW

Ingrid Jensen, Steve Treseler photo by Jim Levitt
Kenny Wheeler (1930-2014) was born in Toronto but lived in London from the 1950s on, playing trumpet and flugelhorn and composing in a unique style that ranged from soft lyricism to explosive free expression.  His many recordings for ECM and CAM Jazz are widely praised by critics and studied by musicians.  In a pair of concerts at The Royal Room in Seattle, Steve Treseler and Ingrid Jensen co-led a Tribute to Kenny Wheeler featuring two evenings of his music.  Joining Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and Steve Treseler on tenor sax were Geoffrey Keezer on piano, Martin Wind on bass and Jon Wikan on drums, with vocalist Katie Jacobson.

This Tribute to Kenny Wheeler was produced by Earshot Jazz, John Gilbreath, Executive Director, and was recorded by Jim Wilke for NPR’s Jazz Night in America, and KPLU’s Jazz Northwest.  NPR music also shot a video of the evening. The musicians also spent a day in the studio recording this music for a future release.

Next week’s Jazz Northwest (3/15) will feature Anat Cohen as soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra at the Kirkland Performance Center, and the following week (3/22) will be a concert by the JazzEd New Works Ensemble directed by Wayne Horvitz at the Seattle Art Museum.

Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke for 88.5 KPLU.  The program airs every Sunday afternoon at 2 PM Pacific and streams at  A podcast of each show is available after the broadcast at

More info:

(all photos by Jim Levitt)

Geoffrey Keezer
Martin Wind
Jon Wikan
Katie Jacobson
Steve Treseler

Kenny Wheeler Tribute Concert on NPR’s Jazz Night in America

NPR’s Jazz Night in America hosted by Christian McBride will be recording and filming our Kenny Wheeler Tribute show at The Royal Room for a national broadcast and webcast! The program is scheduled to air in the spring. HUGE thanks to NPR Music, WBGO, Jazz at Lincoln Center, KPLU, The Royal Room, and Jim Wilke for making this happen.

Tickets to our shows at The Royal Room available here: March 1 | March 2

Kenny Wheeler Tribute: New Project with Ingrid Jensen and Geoffrey Keezer

I am thrilled to announce that Ingrid Jensen and I will be co-leading a project in honor of the great Kenny Wheeler.

We will be playing at The Royal Room in Seattle on March 1st and 2nd as part of the Earshot Spring Series and recording a new album. Check out Earshot’s article about the show and you can pre-order the album and support the recording project at:

Canadian born trumpeter and composer Kenny Wheeler spent most of his career in London. He is known for his stunning writing for large and small jazz ensembles and imaginative improvisations. Kenny passed away last year at age 84 leaving us with a rich legacy of music. See the 2014 NY Times article and Ingrid’s tribute to Kenny on Ethan Iverson’s “Do The Math” blog.

For this project, we will be joined by a stellar rhythm section from one of Ingrid’s regular bands, featuring piano great Geoffrey Keezer, who has worked with Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Ray Brown, and Sting!

We will play our own interpretations of Kenny’s music, original pieces dedicated to Kenny, and spontaneous free improvisations.

Center Song makes Downbeat’s Best Albums of 2014

My latest album Center Song featuring Ingrid Jensen made Downbeat Magazine’s Best Albums of 2014! See the January issue here.

I have a new project with Ingrid in the works–check back soon!

Downbeat Jan 2015



Improvisation Clinic at JEN Conference in San Diego

Thanks to everyone who came to my session at JEN! I had a great time presenting, going to performances, and reconnecting with friends at the conference. Thanks to my friend (and Berklee professor) Ayn Inserto for snapping this photo and for the kind words:

Steve JEN

The Living Jazz Tradition

I will be presenting a clinic entitled “Creative and Organic Approaches for Beginning Improvisation” at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in San Diego this weekend. The session will cover:

  • Developing Inner Hearing
  • Learning Music by Ear
  • Thematic and Rhythmic Improvisation
  • Improvisation Over Drones
  • Group Free Improvisation Exercises

Saturday, 1/10/15
9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
Seaport Ballroom A (ST2)



Huge thanks to my publisher CMA Press for sending me down to the conference. I will have copies of my book The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony for sale.



Reviews in DownBeat, All About Jazz, Stereophile, and More

My latest album Center Song featuring renowned trumpeter Ingrid Jensen received some stellar reviews this month:


★★★★—a diverse group of beautifully crafted ensemble pieces—whether free, through-composed or somewhere in between.

Read the full review

The Aquarian

“Genius” is probably the most over-used word in any critic’s vocabulary, but in the case of Seattle saxophonist Steve Treseler, it’s apt.

Read the full review

All About Jazz

expressive and coherent modern jazz with masterful improvisations.

Read the full review

iTunes Editors

a young and fresh take on modern jazz

Read the full review

Bird is the Worm

elements of indie-rock and contemporary folk that, applied in the right amounts and the right spots, create a cinematic wash of evocative imagery. . .A seriously captivating album.

Read the full review


a fresh, confident, urbane album. . .Not many records hipper than this one from Seattle will come out of Manhattan in 2014.

Read the full review


Treseler’s concept gives Center Song an incredible breadth of brilliantly executed styles.

Read the full review

National Release of The Living Jazz Tradition

The Living Jazz TraditionI’m thrilled to announce the national release of my book The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press. This has been a labor of love over the past eight years and it’s hard to believe the book is finally here!

I began this project because I observed a disconnect between how great improvisers play and how jazz is typically taught. I’ve seen countless students who turn to educational materials become overwhelmed and uninspired. Often, these students never experience the act of spontaneous music-making because they are buried in a confusing jumble of scales, chords, patterns, and licks.

The material in The Living Jazz Tradition is process-based and can be applied by students of all levels. The early chapters focus on playing by ear, developing a strong time-feel, and creative concepts including melodic improvisation over a drone, thematic development, and free improvisation. The chapters progress through a comprehensive guide to jazz harmony with hundreds of musical examples, integrated repertoire, and creative assignments. The book includes mp3 downloads of drum grooves, drones, and rhythm section tracks.

At the new CMA Press website, you can view sample pages, read testimonials by Jerry Bergonzi, Wayne Horvitz, Dick Oatts, and Chris Bruya, or place an order.

A whole team of folks made this happen. Special thanks to my publisher Michael Stegner at CMA for putting hundreds of hours into this project, Chris Stover for editing my early drafts, and to Chris Bruya at Central Washington University and Vern Sielert at University of Idaho for piloting the pre-publication version.

Four-Star Review in Downbeat

Center Song received great review in the May issue of Downbeat. Jon Garelick writes that the album is “a diverse group of beautifully crafted ensemble pieces—whether free, through-composed or somewhere in between.” The issue will be available on newsstands on 4/18.

DownBeat May 2014

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