Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska Native Pens Impressive Compositions

All the way from New york City, bassist Steve Doyle still makes his 'Presence' known in Nebraska, the native state he left several years ago in order to pursue a music career.  

Born in Omaha, Doyle played Hammond organ and piano before switching to bass in his mid-teens.  Winning a four-year scholarship to the University of Nebraska School of Music, he quickly fell under the influence of UNL instructor and master jazz bassist Rusty White and graduated with a degree in music education.

On 'Presence', his debut recording, Doyle fronts a formidable quartet of musicians dedicated to the pursuit of happiness and hard-charging group interplay.  Fellow Omaha native Dave Stryker squeezes off blistering guitar lines, the much-in-demand tenor saxophonist Chris Potter attacks each tune with gusto and imagination, and drummer Tony Moreno keeps the complex rhythmic pulse ticking along like a Swiss timepiece.  

'Presence' features five original compositions and inspired renditions of three standards, including up tempo versions of Irving Berlin's 'How Deep is the Ocean' and Ornette Coleman's 'Una Muy Bonita' and a solo bass interpretation of Duke Ellington's 'Prelude to a Kiss'.  

It is the Doyle-penned tunes that impress the most.  '3rd Wave' includes obvious references to world music.  The title track is a moving, midtempo exploration of melody and harmony.  'Tender Elements' beautifully illustrates Doyle's ballad side.  

'Nebraska', as the composer himself describes it, is "a programmatic piece that takes the listener on a visual journey to the plains of the Midwest."  Here's hoping that Doyle makes that journey back to the plains for a concert tour in the near future.

- Tom Ineck, Lincoln Journal Star, April 26, 1998