Patches Stewart

New Orleans-born Michael “Patches” Stewart blows from the summit of today’s trumpet players. Patches made his major recording debut at 16 playing in the horn section on LaBelle’s Allen Toussaint-produced classic “Lady Marmalade” in 1974. Upon high school graduation – though he had scholarships on the table from Berklee School of Music and more – Patches passed on them all, headed to Los Angeles and got busy. Patches grabbed the attention of the great Quincy Jones who took him on tour behind his The Dude LP in the early ’80s. This was followed by work with artists ranging from English groove collective Soul II Soul to bohemian rocker Rickie Lee Jones to soulful divas Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. Patches’ first recordings as a leader were for the Hip Bop label: the acoustic jazz standards project Blue Patches (1997) and the electrified Penetration (1998). He is most vividly recalled for the 8 years he spent on the road with Al Jarreau followed by 16 years in the cutting-edge band of bass chameleon Marcus Miller who was heavily instrumental in the making of Patches’ third CD, Blow (2005).

Patches was extensively mentored by the great George Duke who he often recorded with – from the boundary smashing legend’s 1993 symphonic project Muir Woods Suite, all the way up to playing on four selections from Duke’s final album in 2013, DreamWeaver. Patches’ most recent recording is On Fire, documenting a scintillating wood-shedding collaboration between musicians in Warsaw, Poland (where Patches has lived for the last couple of years) with key American compatriots such as saxophonist Kenny Garrett, vocalist Raul Midón, drummer Poogie Bell and guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr.

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