Department Head, Ensembles
Steve Jennings has explored many musical styles including rock, classical, jazz, funk, gospel, country, and blues. He has worked professionally in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area since his first studio recording in 1991 after six years on the road with top forty dance bands. Jennings was initially inspired by the music of Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Doors. He experience in jazz music arrived in the form of violinist Jean Luc Ponty, the propulsive energy of Tony Williams, and the expressive funk of Billy Cobham.
The jazz and rock collaborations continue today in Story City, a modern instrumental group led by Jennings. In addition, Steve tours with violin virtuoso Randy Sabien and the electric funky bluegrass leaning Over and Back Band. He has performed with Regina Williams, Moore By Four, the Brian Kinney Band, Jevetta Steele, Paul Mayasich, the Platters, Ron Thompson and his Resistors, and Best Kept Secret. Jennings produced his first jazz record in 1995 with his own Jazztet, featuring clarinetist Dave O’Mara, bassist Keith Boyles, and the late great Bobby Peterson on piano. While primarily self-taught, Steve has welcomed periodic lessons with jazz drummers Phil Hey, Ed Soph, legend Gordy Knutson, and New Orleans street beat jazz guru John Vidacovich. His inspiration continues on in search of new musical experiences and creative collaborations while pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Augsburg College.