on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2020 23 Mrz

Steve Eliovson (1954 – 2020)

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 3 Comments

+Steve Eliovson  acoustic guitar
Collin Walcott  percussion

Recorded January 1981 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg
Engineer: Martin Wieland
Produced by Manfred Eicher



„I just got back from Cape Town, S Africa … I spent a week and a 1/2 making a nuisance of myself at various gigs/jams. I got to sit in with Bensonphile, Richard Caesar, Wes-o-phile, Alvin Dyers and other sundry bands/guys. So on saturday I was invited to a party at great pianist Robert Payne’s pad. There were a few people there, and one guy was introduced as „Steve“. About 1/2 way thru the nite I heard „Steve“ mention recording in Germany. I tentatively asked him for his last name, and his response FLOORED me: Eliovson. This was the legendary Steve Eliovson who recorded on ECM in ’80 and promptly vanished. He is a legend amongst SA gtr players, and here he was in front of me alive and well !!!!! He told me lots of stories of hanging with Towner and Abercrombie et al, and how the exigencies of survival forced him to abandon his gtrs in NY storage NEVER to return to music – sad freaking story … Anyway I pulled out my gtr and he played a bit. Rusty, but with glimpses of a Mclaughlin style … He told me he was in Europe to record his 2nd ECM date and the weekend before recording commenced he broke a leg ski-ing in the Alps. It all began to fall apart for him after that. They postponed the rec. date, and Steve went back to NYC where he was living at the time. He said he couldn’t really play gigs or get around with a cast up to his hip in NY and he was living on someone’s couch. He decided to store his belongings and head back to SA to regroup. He never got back … and it seems he lost momentum … I could sense the sad regret/loss behind his eyes … He mentioned hanging with Richie Bierach in those days, and that Richie was living in a literal „shoebox“: one room with barely space to move. He also recalled jams with Towner and Abercrombie where they all got so stoned that guys were literally falling over while playing … His sad story reconfirmed to me that if you can simply find a way to keep playing music in your life (never mind being a „star“ or „famous“) you can count yourself lucky …“

(Tom Marcello)

This entry was posted on Montag, 23. März 2020 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    One listener’s experience:

    It was 1981, I was a UCLA grad student sharing a house with friends in West LA. I’ll never forget waking up one morning, with that soul-warming SoCal sunshine coming into the screened patio, and an FM radio station playing this album. I stopped everything and just sat on the sofa, listening to this music, entranced. Afterward I had to go out and buy it, and it has always been one of my favorite albums, something magical, something uniquely special. The music is indescribable, and the guitar playing simply phenomenal. I have 100s of albums, but nothing even similar to Dawn Dance; it’s a little like Oregon, but more melodic. A couple of years ago I asked the same question as another reviewer here–what happened to Steve Eliovson? How could anyone so incredible, artistically, just disappear? It’s great to see that his only album has at least come out on CD, but the distributor needs to find a way of letting the world ‚rediscover‘ it again.

  2. Andreas A.:

    Zeit der Abschiede.

    Steve Eliovson stammte aus Südafrika, nahm diese Platte auf und verschwand. So liest man, allerdings war eine zweite bei ECM geplant, vor den Aufnahmen brach Eliovson sich in den Alpen beim Skifahren ein Bein. Die Aufnahmen wurden verschoben, er reiste zurück nach New York, wohnte angeblich bei Richie Beirach in einem winzigen Zimmer und verkaufte seinen Besitz, und eben auch die Gitarren, um zu überleben. Und danach hat man von diesem grossen Talent nie mehr was gehört.

    Es ist unglaublich was die beiden auf diesem Album abliefern, diese Aufnahme ist eine Perle, und auch im Gesamtwerk Walcotts ein Höhepunkt.

  3. Brian Whistler:

    I am sorry to hear this. I wish we all could’ve heard much more from this uniquely talented artist.

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