Sam Steffke is truly a Milwaukee Legend. Please check out PianoSam.com, Sam Steffke’s official website!
Three time WAMI award winning pianist, Sam Steffke is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music. While there, Sam worked steadily with many area musicians, including Rick Stepton, a veteran of the Buddy Rich Band. A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sam has lived in Milwaukee since 1985. Since moving to Milwaukee, Sam has worked with a veritable who’s who of the local music scene.
Sam has also had the honor of accompanying such heavy-hitting hornmen as jazz trumpet virtuoso Brian Lynch, “Saturday Night Live” trombonist Tom “Bones” Malone, and Bela Fleck/Dave Matthews Band saxophone demigod Jeff Coffin, at clinics they played at Cascio Interstate Music. In addition, he has recorded piano tracks for the companion CDs of “Signature Licks” piano books by the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, including “Ben Folds Five” and “Best of Bebop Piano.” Sam also maintains a teaching practice for all ages and all levels!
Sam’s first CD, entitled “This IS My Real Job”, was released in 2000 to local acclaim – receiving airplay on radio stations WYMS and WJZI. It contains six standards and five Steffke originals, featuring support from some of Milwaukee’s top musicians. A second CD is in the works, and a third is in the planning stages.
In early 2006, a rare blood disease slowed Sam down for awhile. Many thanks to Cathy and Martina Steffke, wonderful friends and fellow musicians for their support. Sam recuperated fully and continues to enjoy a clean bill of health. He will forever be grateful to everyone who made possible, and participated in, the “Jam for Sam” benefit concert of February 2006.
Shortly before his hospitalization, Sam began work (at the urging of Jim Kishline) on his next two recording projects; one will be a follow-up, of sorts, to his well-received first cd, “This IS My Real Job”, the other will be jazz re-workings of some of Sam’s favorite Beatles songs.
Together with Kishline on bass and Mike Murphy on drums, Sam has recorded bed tracks for a slew of Beatles tunes, including “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane”, “Julia”, “I Will”, “In My Life”, “All You Need Is Love”, “Blackbird” and “The Long and Winding Road”….horn parts for a number of the songs have also been recorded; leaving their musical imprints on the project were saxophonists Warren Wiegratz and Tom Newburg (saxophones), Jeff Pietrangelo (trumpet), Dave “Smitty” Smith (trombone), and Rick Aaron (flute). Two songs have also been recorded for the as-yet untitled “This is STILL My Real Job” CD project. Manning the controls was WAMI-winning producer Pat Lilly of Nexus Studios, who recorded and co-produced “This IS My Real Job”.