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Mike Stern


Guitarist Mike Stern performs with David Sanborn (sax), Lincoln Goines (bass), and Dennis Chambers (drums).

Mike Stern was born Mike Sedgwick in Boston, Massachusetts on January 10, 1953, the son of Helen Burroughs and Henry Dwight Sedgwick V. He is the half-brother of actress Kyra Sedgwick; his full sister, Holly, is the mother of actor Philip Nozuka and singers George Nozuka, Justin Nozuka, and Henry Nozuka. Stern is married to guitarist and vocalist Leni Stern.

At the Berklee College of Music in Boston his focus shifted to jazz; landing a gig with Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1976. He remained with the band for two years, appearing on the BS&T albums "More Than Ever" and "Brand New Day."

In 1979, Stern joined Billy Cobham's fusion band. Two years later he joined Miles Davis group, making his public debut on June 27, 1981, at the KIX nightclub in Boston, a performance documented on the CBS live album We Want Miles. He remained with Davis through 1983. From 1983 to 1984 he toured in Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth band and in 1985 he returned to Davis for a second tour of duty that lasted close to a year.

His solo debut, "Upside Downside," was released on Atlantic Records in 1986. It features performances by Pastorius, David Sanborn, and Bob Berg. From 1986 through 1988, he was a member of Michael Brecker's quintet, appearing on Don't Try This At Home.

Stern's second Atlantic album, 1988's "Time in Place," featured Peter Erskine on drums, Jim Beard on keyboards, Jeff Andrews on bass, Don Alias on percussion and Don Grolnick on organ. He followed with 1989's Jigsaw, which was produced by fellow guitarist Steve Khan and included Mike's menacing Miles Davis tribute, "Chief". In 1989, Stern formed a cooperative touring group with Bob Berg that also included drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Lincoln Goines. They remained a working unit through 1992 and are featured on Mike's Atlantic release, Odds Or Evens.

He joined a reunited Brecker Brothers Band in 1992 and became a factor in the success of that popular group for the next two years. His acclaimed and jazzy 1993 Atlantic release, "Standards (And Other Songs)," led to Stern being named Best Jazz Guitarist Of The Year by the readers and critics of Guitar Player. He followed that up with 1994's "Is What It Is" and 1996's "Between The Lines," both of which received Grammy nominations.

In 1997, Stern returned to a jazzier aesthetic with Give And Take, a looser, more spontaneous session featuring bassist John Patitucci, drummer Jack DeJohnette, percussionist Don Alias and special guests Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. He won the Orville W. Gibson Award for Best Jazz Guitarist.

After 15 years with Atlantic, Stern shifted to ESC for the 2004 release of These Times, an eclectic set that included guest appearances by some high-profile session players - bassist Richard Bona, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and banjoist Bela Fleck.

*In February 2009, in the first in a series of articles to celebrate DownBeat's 75th anniversary, Stern was named to the jazz magazines list of 75 Great Guitarists.

*In August 2009, Stern released "Big Neighborhood," which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

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