10 measures with Steve Sawyer


Steve is a bass player for the D’Sievers and for Swing Street, a 17-piece big band. He also performs with the Mayo Clinic Chamber Symphony. He has earned a business degree and is retired from a career in information technology at the Mayo Clinic.


  1. What sparked your interest in music?

I started with piano and violin as a child. I didn’t pick up the bass until 6th grade because I wasn’t tall enough. I even did some organ for a while in high school, but at this point I only play bass.

  1. Most listened to song in the last week?

Pat Metheny’s "Phase Dance." I just saw him at the Guthrie Theater.

  1. What do you drink during a show?

It depends on where I am playing. If I am at Kinney Creek or Forager, I am drinking beer. And if I am drinking beer, I will drink a dark beer. I might also have a rum and Coke at The Half Barrel. If I am at Four Daughters, then I am drinking wine.


  1. Favorite local band or artist?

Captain Gravitone and The String Theory Orchestra out of Mankato. They have some elements of Tom Waite’s music, but it is still jazzy and bluesy.

  1. If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?

Jaco Pastorius. He is one of the most well-known bass players; he is one of those legends. He did things that very few others, if any, could do.

  1. Top three artists at the moment?

Marcus Miller. He’s an example of a bass player who is running the show.

Los Straightjackets. They play surf rock, and it’s a lot of fun to see them perform live.

McCoy Tyner. He’s an amazing jazz pianist who has been around forever.


  1. Kindest words from an audience member?

It is always interesting when someone says, "We didn’t expect to find someone that good here." Maybe they think Rochester is a smaller town and figure the music isn’t going to be so great.



  1. If you had to outlaw one song from ever being played again, which would it be and why?

Screamo metal. The vocals are screaming. And, yes, there are words, apparently, but it just very much sounds like they are screaming at a high volume level. It is very heavy. I don’t dislike heavy metal, but the screamo metal, I just don’t understand.

  1. Best show you’ve ever seen?

Liv Warfield at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. She was a Prince protégé. And just like Prince was the consummate showman, she was polished - all the way down to the interactions amongst the musicians, which were choreographed to tie in with the songs.

  1. Most memorable Rochester gig experience?

The Doggery gigs tend to be fun because it is a very active environment. There are lots of people coming in and out, and there are no restrictions on volume. I like the music interaction because sometimes people will sit in with us and sing.

Steve will be playing with D’Sievers on Sunday, October 16 for the Jazz Jam at Rochester Civic Theatre; Wednesday, October 19 at The Half Barrel; and Thursday, October 27 at The Doggery.


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