The Dave Sterner Quintet | What's What

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Jazz: Post-Bop Jazz: Bebop Moods: Type: Instrumental
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What's What

by The Dave Sterner Quintet

Straight ahead jazz that combines modern compositions and improvisation with traditional jazz elements. This music will get your foot tapping and your head bobbing.
Genre: Jazz: Post-Bop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Jive Song
5:40 album only
2. Slick Willy
6:28 album only
3. A Lazy Day
6:15 album only
4. What Was
6:55 album only
5. Waltz for Pop
6:15 album only
6. The Lucky Ones
4:27 album only
7. That's All
7:12 album only
8. JS 4 Fun
3:55 album only
9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
4:01 album only
10. S. P. Jones
4:45 album only
11. But Not for Me
7:10 album only
12. Split Kick
5:49 album only


Album Notes
The Dave Sterner Quintet came together as a jazz ensemble in the spring of 2003. The group performs a wide range of musical styles, including the blues, swing, funk, and Latin jazz. A large part of the repertoire comes from the 1960’s soul jazz era when composers such as Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard dominated the scene. The group also performs songs by such contemporary composers as Joshua Redman, Bob Berg, and Michael Brecker and is composing its own original music and reinterpreting classic charts in a more modern style. The group consists of an alto and tenor saxophone on the front line, and a traditional piano, bass, and drum rhythm section. In addition to Dave on alto, the group features Chris Burge (Up Ensemble) on tenor sax, Roger Friedman on piano and Rhodes, Ray Porrello (Sammy Davis Jr., Count Basie Big Band) on drums, Kurt Felgelmaker on bass and special guest Beau Lisy (Up Ensemble) on percussion. The Quintet recently was awarded the Cleveland FREE TIMES 2007 "best jazz band" music award.

The Dave Sterner Quintet has performed as part of the TRI-C Jazzfest, The Madison Jazz Festival, The Lakeland Jazz Festival, The Ingenuity Festival, The Boston Mills Art Festival and the Cleveland Museum of Art Summer Concert Series. The group has also played at several establishments including The Cleveland Bop Stop, Legacy Village, Crocker Park, Nighttown, and The Cleveland Chop House.

Dave Sterner is a 1992 graduate of Indiana University’s Jazz Studies program, where he studied under renowned jazz educator David Baker. He is currently a part-time faculty member for the Cuyahoga Community College jazz program where he teaches advanced ear training and harmony, as well as, Lakeland Community College where he directs the Lakeland Civic Jazz Orchestra. He also participates annually in the Lakeland Summer Jazz Camp, the TRI-C “Summer with the Jazz Masters” camp and is a clinician and adjudicator for the Lakeland and TRI-C Jazz Festivals.

In 1993, Sterner joined Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band. He is a featured soloist on both CD’s released on the Koch Label, as well as the CD, “Body & Soul” released on One Soul Records. As a member of the Fat Tuesday Big Band, Sterner has performed with such nationally-known jazz artist as David Sanborn, Phil Woods, Louis Bellson, and Terry Gibbs among others. As a free-lance musician, he has also performed with Harry Connick Jr., Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Tony Bennett, Wayne Newton, and a variety of national acts appearing in the Cleveland area. Dave has also performed with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band featuring Jon Faddis, Antonio Hart, and Slide Hampton.

Currently Dave lives in Willoughby, OH with his wife, Lisa, and their two children Brad and Libby.



to write a review

deborah pietrantozzi

what's what
My 7 year old and I LOVE the music. His bass teacher plays on the album and does a great job. We enjoyed "Slick Willy" and "JS4Fun." Give it a try.

Bill Donaldson

Sterner’s music is .... fun to hear.
Sterner’s music is fun to listen to, as he combines musicianship with outreach to his audience. Sterner injects enthusiasm and style into the music. His creative use of accents....retains attention ..., never ostentatiously, but rather as an infusion of humor and personality. Sterner’s music is always accessible, energetic, logically constructed, rhythmically inviting, technically accomplished and fun to hear.


what was
I love your chord-progression and theory on music,,,,,,,,,,,

Bill Wahl

Rich melodies, smooth tight ensemble work and fine all around playing.
Oftentimes my method of operation in listening to CDs for possible coverage in the mag is to simply grab a pile and stick them in the player at random without really looking at them. Admittedly, most don’t last more than one song or two before hitting ‘eject.’ But this day I heard one open with a head somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” and quickly break into an all out swing bringing to mind the quintets of both Cannonball Adderley and Phil Woods. Yes…I think I am going to like this one. Rich melodies, smooth tight ensemble work and fine all around playing. As the music went on, disappointment did not seem to be on the horizon. Who was this? To my surprise, it was a band practically from my own backyard right here in Cleveland.
Alto saxophonist Dave Sterner and tenor man Chris Burge are the ones providing these well crafted solos and ensemble work throughout the 12 song set of eight Sterner originals and four covers. In the company of Roger Freidman/piano and Fender Rhodes, Kurt Felgemaker/bass, Ray Porrello/drums and Beau Lisy/percussion they deliver a fantastic set of straight ahead jazz…with swingers, ballads, and some Latin & funk. Sterner’s writing deserves special mention as it obviously has a lot to do with the overall success of the project. Unlike too many originals, these songs are very accessible… in other words,, universally listenable. While the horn players are the spotlight, the band is super with their support. Freidman does a fine job in his solo spots. He’s mostly on acoustic piano, but the Fender Rhodes (a popular instrument in 70s jazz) used on a few tunes is a nice twist. Felgemaker and Porrello are both very good players and work well together propelling the proceedings. The covers heard are “That’s All,” “ Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “But Not For Me” and Horace Silver’s “Split Kick.” Whether Sterner and company meant it, or even knew it, the music of the two above-mentioned great alto saxophonists…Phil Woods and the late Cannonball Adderley…it permeates the whole set. And that, my friends, is a good thing. The only thing that doesn’t add up is there are six musicians in the quintet. I’m guessing percussionist Beau Lisy is a guest.
Those in the Cleveland area may have seen Sterner performing with Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band, which he joined in 1993. He’s been on some of Krivda’s CDs, but this is his first…and it’s first class all the way. Available at and some Borders and Barnes & Noble stores in the Cleveland area.

C. Andrew Hovan

What’s What is a strong statement that stands apart
A member of Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band, alto saxophonist David Sterner has been a committed jazz artist on the Cleveland, Ohio scene since the mid ‘90s. He’s led the quartet heard on What’s What for the past several years now, a fact that figures prominently in the development and preparation of the group’s maiden voyage. Refreshing in its stance, which avoids the more iconic sounds of the bebop tradition, Sterner’s influences come from a decidedly more soulful perspective. Cannonball Adderley seems to be a recognizable element in the framework of Sterner’s approach, although there’s also a strong tendency towards the funkier leanings of Hank Crawford, David Sanborn and Chris Hunter.

Sterner’s originals are particularly strong and happily make up most of the program. Together with tenor man Chris Burge, our two front-line partners speak as one and easily negotiate some slippery passages, such as the slurs and bends of the melody line to “The Jive Song.” Roger Friedman utilizes a Fender Rhodes to lay down vintage grooves on several cuts; Kurt Felgemaker’s electric bass anchors the bottom end. Sterner’s alto is at its most melodic on the ebullient “Waltz for Pop,” while his fiery statement on “What Was” gives the strongest indication of his ties to players such as Sanborn and Crawford.

By contrast with his original material, Sterner and company’s renditions of the four standards here are far less interesting. In fact, one could argue that it might have been beneficial to forego them altogether in favor of extending some of the solos on a few of the shorter numbers. Regardless, What’s What is a strong statement that stands apart from many of the self-produced releases that pass as mainstream jazz these days.

Ernie Krivda

This is a young saxophonist on the rise
"This CD is representative of a really quality young talent taking his music to another level as an improviser, band leader and composer. Dave Sterner has produced a formidable 1st recording which presents music of distinction and promise. Dave and his band speak to an audience young and hip, but a foundation drawn from a deep well of tradition gives the music a substance that takes it beyond the trendy. This is a young saxophonist on the rise."


Love This CD!
What a great album - swinging tunes and stunning originals. Try this one out - I think you\'ll like it. My favorites: Waltz for Pop and A Lazy Day. Thanks for the music, Dave. :)

Willard Jenkins

Just good, clean fun!
With Fender Rhodes and electric bass in the band, and opening with such original titles as "The Jive Song" and "Slick Willy" in the mix, Cleveland-based alto man Dave Sterner brings some funk twists to the proceedings. This release has some snap and a real sense of joy in the way Sterner and his guys serve up the grooves on this no frills date. You get no sense of ego-driven sensibilities or weighty agendas, just good, clean fun. I like the way Sterner capped off the date with a sparkling rendition of one of the original Jazz Messengers vehicles, Horace Silver's ebullient "Split Kick."