The Steven McGrill Project

Who’s The Steven McGrill Project?   On our latest CD the band included Gaston Rene on Bass Guitar,  Steve Correll on piano (who played for the United States Air Force band when they were considered one of the best jazz bands in the country),  Guitarist Joe Calderon and Jeff Stetson (Joe has played with Dianne Reeves and Billy Childs to mention a few.  Jeff has worked with the Drifters)  drummers Olises Naranjo and Forrest Robinson (Forrest is a Grammy award winner for his work on drums with India Aire),  Reed players Javier Vergara, Gerald Monteros and Jim Carter (Javier is a member of the Grammy winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Band) vocalist Carla bagnerise, Ellen Cooper Merlene “Jita” Hosley Sandra “Lady McD McDaniels and myself Steven McGill on Vibes, Conga Drums and percussion.

How you guys all met and started this project?  All the the guys in the band are friends thru another guy in the band if that makes any sense but it kind of goes like this I met Gerald Monteros  at a jam session.  He met Jeff Stetson who was friends with Gaston and Jim Carter, Gaston was friends with Javier.  Steve was a friends with Gerald.  Olises was a friend of Jeff Stetson also.  The ladies I meet at a music class held by Val Ewell.

How would you describe your sound? I tried to center what we do around the sound of the drum.  I’m a percussionist who is lucky enough to be surrounded by a great group of friends who were willing to help make the dream of this CD “Kujichagulia” a reality.  I got the idea from a recording by Max Roach, the recording is called M’Boom.  Max and a group of drummers playing only percussion instruments played some jazz compositions, it’s a FANTASTIC recording!!!  I don’t think it was a large commercial success or even a critical success but I thought “take this sound and add a bass guitar to make it more accessible, bring in the piano which is also a percussion instrument and a new sound was born kind of, anyway that was the thought process.  The strings and woodwinds were added later again because I wanted it to appeal to a larger group of people.

What are your music influences?  My personal influences would be Olatunji, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Armando Peraza,  Victor Feldman, Louie Ramirez,  Sly and The Family Stone, Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane to mention athe main ones.

Can you give us some insights, details about your upcoming new album? Any title, release date yet?  We’ve started recording a new CD that we hope to finish by Dec 2012 or Jan 2013.  This one shoould have more original compositions but we’ll put our twist on some more standards also.  One of those standards will be “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane but again it will probably not sound much like what you would expect without giving away to many details.  We have recorded five new tunes already and we hope to add four or five more for the new CD.

What has been the funniest moment you have been or took part while touring?  We were playing in Venice Beach, Ca. at this club and a lady on roller skates and wearing a bikini decided she wanted to kiss Jeff while he was playing.  Of course she knocked over half the mikes on stage trying to get to Jeff it was so funny.

Are there any more plans for the future we should be aware of?  It would be nice to get a high quality video done for the new CD so will see if we can turn the talk into reality.

What’s your method at the time of writing a song?  I’m a percussionist so I norally start with the drums.  I play a little piano so that’s what I’ll add next then the vibes once thatt’s done and I have an idea about what it sounds like.  Then I’ll call Gaston and Steve (bass and piano) they’ll lay down some tracks for me and we build from there.

Do you feel you are moving on the right direction?  I think so we’re being reviewed by “Vents Magazine” which is a big step!!!  We also just got added to Pandora Radio which is a big step for any indie so go to Pandora tyoe us in and give us a listen the CD is “Kujichagulia” by “The Steven McGill Project”.


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