Ivan Stechishin, 1966, Edmonton, Canada. Born into a family of Ukrainian descent, as a child Stetch heard and performed music constantly, singing in Ukrainian choral groups and also playing in a Ukrainian wedding band. After studying tenor saxophone and clarinet, he switched to piano in his mid-teens where he was able to find the technique necessary to bring to life the complexities of the music he felt inside. He studied music at McGill University in Montreal, graduating in 1991 and the following year moved to New York City although he has retained strong links with his Canadian roots, and through this with his Ukrainian heritage. In jazz, he was influenced in part by Kenny Kirkland and Keith Jarrett but was also influenced by classical composers. Very soon, though, Stetch became his own very original man. In 1993, he came second in the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition and in 1998 he won Le Grand Prix Du Jazz Du Maurier at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.
Strikingly gifted, Stetch has a virtuoso technique that he uses not to dazzle, although he does, but to cast revealing light on his imaginative improvising that draws upon post-bop jazz piano tradition and from the music of his ancestral homeland. New and exploratory though it is, Stetchs work is always accessible and is invigorating to first-time listeners who almost always become immediate fans. Stetch is often heard playing solo but also leads a trio in which his regular companions are bass player Sean Smith and drummer Rodney Green. In addition to his solo and trio work he has also given duo recitals with fellow pianist Jan Jarczyk.
Among other artists with whom Stetch has played and sometimes recorded are Chris Kase, Rufus Reid, Canadian trombonist Alain Trudel, Reid and Akira Tanas TanaReid, alto saxophonist Ed Jackson as well as with saxophonist Mark Turner and bass player Johannes Weidenmuller in an occasional trio.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.