The American journalist Scott Yanow once described SteepleChase in an article for jazziz as “… one of the top European jazz labels, has done a superlative job during the past 30 years of documenting major American bop-based artists…. It is a little-known fact that much of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s best work was made for SteepleChase… generally more exciting than his earlier Blue Notes and later Columbias…”
The SteepleChase story in fact cannot be told without referring to those American expatriates such as Dexter, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Duke Jordan to mention a few who were the major force on the jazz scene in the 60s and 70s’ Europe. Along with those artists, SteepleChase has introduced to the world some of the finest European jazz musicians such as Tete Montoliu, Niels-Henning Østed Pedersen and re-introduced then neglected artists like Shirley Horn, Louis Smith, Walt Dickerson into the active recording and live scenes.
SteepleChase is turning 46 years old this year (2018) and is, however, not only the label for the “veterans” but is increasingly involved with the outstanding musicians of younger generations such as Rich Perry, Dick Oatts, Ari Ambrose, Harold Danko, George Colligan, Dave Stryker, Andy LaVerne, Steve LaSpina, Michael Cochrane, Dave Ballou, Vic Juris, Gregory Tardy, Jason Palmer, Peter Zak to mention a few.
SteepleChase is proud having introduced a long list of now well-know musicians to the jazz world by offering talented but unknown musicians their very first recording date under their own leadership, such as Hilton Ruiz, Rene McLean, Michael Carvin, Andy LaVerne, Pierre Dørge & his New Jungle Orchestra, Rich Perry, Scott Colley, Ari Ambrose, Joe Locke, Karen Francis, Larry Willis, George Colligan, Gary Versace, Dave Ballou, Brian Charette, Dave Stryker, and several others.
SteepleChase prides itself with long-standing working artistic relationship with its artists releasing annually around 20+ new recordings by those rising stars of jazz. SteepleChase has recently launched a sister label called SteepleChase LookOut to cover the desparately needed platform for those up-coming artists from all over the world who deserve exposure and recognition.
As The British journalist Chris Sheridan wrote for Jazz Circle News, SteepleChase has, “with a potent sense of direction, produced one of the most powerful independent labels on the jazz scene.”