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A DownBeat “Rising Star” and JazzTimes Editor’s Pick, tenor saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens is always searching for what’s “singable.” This search often results in live improvisations and written compositions that challenge traditional concepts of harmony, pushing phrasing and beautiful melodies in unlikely directions.
His distinctive style, notable for its “big, warm lines” (JazzTimes), has earned him collaborative opportunities with some of the music’s most beloved players, including, among others, Brian Blade, Al Foster, Idris Muhammad, Billy Hart, Marcus Gilmore, Bill Stewart, Eric Harland, Lewis Nash, Jeff Ballard, Justin Brown, Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, Taylor Eigsti, Kenny Barron, Gerald Clayton, Aaron Parks, Roy Hargrove, Sean Jones, Ambrose Akinmusire, Wayne Shorter, Ben Wendel, Chris Potter, Walter Smith III, Rufus Reid, Joe Sanders, Linda Oh, Larry Grenadier, Harish Raghavan, Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens, Sachal Vasandani, John Scofield, Julian Lage, Mike Moreno, and Carlos Santana.
Stephens’s new project, Triptagon, is a trio that features Dayna Stephens on EWI (electronic wind instrument) and saxophone, Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and Tommy Crane on drums. The bass role is covered at times by EWI or guitar, which gives the trio a plethora of textural possibilities. The trio performs mostly original songs written by Stephens and Hekselman that embrace jazz, classical, electronic, folk, rock, and world perspectives.
Presented in collaboration with The Jazz Foundation of America