Dayna Stephens Interview, NYC

By Filipe Freitas

Dayna Stephens, © Gulnara Khamatova (used with permission)

Dayna Stephens, © Gulnara Khamatova (used with permission)


Name: Dayna Stephens
Instrument: saxophone, EWI
Style: postbop, contemporary jazz
Album Highlights: That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside, 2013); Peace (Sunnyside, 2014); Gratitude (Contagious Music, 2017).






Tells us one adjective that can accurately describe you.

If you weren't a musician, what would you have been?
Car Designer, most designs are hideous (lol).

What do you picture in your mind when you're improvising?
Bouncing circles.

Which color would you pick to associate with your music and why?
If I had to pick just one it would be green because it signifies life to me, blue would be a tie or close second.

Tell me two persons who marked you the most as a musician.
Sonny Rollins and Brad Mehldau.

And two musicians whom you've never worked with but you'd love to.
These answers would differ from day to day. I would love to work with Jack DeJohnette and Kurt Rosenwinkel, perhaps at the same time!

Can you briefly describe the hardest moment of your career?
Selling my baritone saxophone (my favorite saxophone voice) to move to NYC.

Besides gratitude, what other messages do you intend to convey with this new album?
Gratitude is also an attempt to exemplify a universal beauty with the goal of creating space for common ground and stronger connections in a time of increased fragmentation. 

Any other projects in mind at the moment or for a near future?
If limited to four burners: a project featuring the EWI and more (not necessarily taking a “fusion” approach), Big Band (long overdue), a traditional Quartet (featuring standards), a Sextet with 3 horns (featuring original compositions). Lots more in the oven, though.