Steve teaches jazz piano privately at his home where he has mentored many students to piano playing maturity through the years. His home in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood, 10 minutes from Downtown Chicago.
Steve is currently the jazz chair of Merit School in the west loop downtown Chicago. He is also the director of the Merit School Honors Jazz Combo which, in addition to playing functions and concerts in the school, also performs at fundraisers and is hired out for gigs. Each student is paid for off site non-Merit fundraisers. This program is geared to help the student become professional and is as much about comportment, attitude, preparedness etc., as it is about the actual music, which is pretty cool too. Steve teaches a jazz piano class in which each student is responsible for chord changes, bass line, and melody in octaves (two hands) at any given time, a separation into three parts what a pianist has to think about when performing solo or in a band.
In 1988, Steve Million was a semifinalist in the internationally renowned Thelonious Monk Piano Competition; that same year, the Missouri native moved to Chicago and never looked back. The music of Monk continued to play an important role in his career. In the 90s he formed a two-keyboard band called Monk’s Dream with Mike Kocour and Robert Shy; in the 2000s created the humor-filled band Thelonious Moog with Joe "Guido" Welsh; and is now part of a piano duo with esteemed pianist Jeremy Kahn called Double Monk that performs the music of Monk with their arrangements and sometimes with the modern dancer Ariane Dolan. Around 2004 Million began a rewarding career teaching privately at the respected Merit School of Music, where he is now Jazz Chair, runs classes in jazz piano, jazz ensembles, and improvisation. In addition to playing his regular nightly gig at the popular downtown restaurant Catch 35. Million has recorded three CDs for Palmetto Records: Million to One (1995), Thanks A Million (1997), and Truth Is (1999) featuring such artists as trumpet great Randy Brecker, saxists Chris Potter and Dick Oatts, and legendary bassist Michael Moore. He has also released a trio album, Poetic Necessities (BluJazz, 2002), and a solo album, Remembering The Way Home (Origin, 2008).
Steve Million and Jeremy Kahn like most jazz pianists share a fascination with the music of Thelonious Monk. They have dared to conceive a performance project based on this fascination in which they perform Monk's music on two pianos. At times this duo is joined by the modern dancer Ariane Dolan who has choreographed dances to their musical arrangements. The duo picks many tunes that the master himself rarely performed including: Who Knows, Criss Cross, Hornin In, and Oska T, to name a few. They bring to each performance over thirty years of jazz piano playing experience, a wink to the audience and a nod to Monk himself.
This project was formed to present excellent Brazilian music performed as true to the original intent as possible with our own twists and turns thrown in. Our first project was the realization of Elis & Tom - the great Brazilian recording from the mid 70's featuring the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the vocals of Elis Regina, and string and arrangements by the great Cesar Camargo Mariano. The presentation of this music was truly a labor of love involving 14 incredible musicians and transcriptions and arrangements by myself. Our first show was at the Fulton Street Collective and soon we will play at another venue - The Jazz Showcase. Also, stay tuned as we have secured a spot as the headliner on the Jazz and Heritage stage of the Chicago Jazz Festival.
Photo By: Sigal Mizrahi