As a proud Memphis musician, I spent a number of my formative years in one of the greatest musical environments on the planet. I usually spent more time playing out than I did in class...but I was able to learn from some of the greats. Often, I had to make the decision between going to an 8a philosophy class or playing a late night gig with Al Green's horn section...decisions, decisions. 

After declaring as a jazz bass major, I was informed that taking classical lessons on the upright was required, much to my dismay. That said, I can honestly say one of the best decisions of my life was to pursue both the electric and the upright, as it provided the opportunity to have a foot in both the classical and jazz styles. Having two incredible bass mentors - who didn't allow any of my immature excuses - certainly didn't hurt. And being in Memphis, well, of course I spent countless hours playing soul, R&B, blues, et al, and focusing on the great bassists from George Porter, Jr. to Paul Chambers, Duck Dunn to Ray Brown, James Jamerson to Ron Carter. You an throw in a helping of David Hood, Oscar Pettiford, Tommy Cogbill, Scott LaFaro, and Bob Babbitt, just for good measure. During this time I also spent 18 months on the road with a band out of Nashville. I took pride in being able to play in any style, no matter the gig. Broadway, Mahler, Miles, Tito, Chaka, Otis, Colon/Lavoe, Brahms, Mingus, King, Sam and Dave - it didn't matter, because I found joy in just having the opportunity to play music. I would often book a recording session in the morning, followed by an evening symphony concert, with a late night R&B gig after that - every day, for years. I was living the musician's dream. 

After moving to Denver in 1999 I continued to play professionally, but as my teaching career became all-encompassing and as my family grew, something had to give, so I put the bass down for a few years. It was a gut-wrenching decision, as I've been a working musician since I was 14, but it was the best decision for my family. 

Steve Holley


  • Hundreds of recording sessions in Denver, Memphis, Nashville, and Los Angeles – performed on dozens of albums, demos, and projects 
  • Performed over 10,000 professional gigs in a multitude of commercial, jazz, and classical styles 
  • Performances at Montreux Jazz Festival (SUI), Festival del Tambor (Cuba), Porretta Soul Festival (IT), Telluride Jazz Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, Loyola Jazz Festival, Five Points Jazz Festival, Capitol Hill People’s Fair, Vail Soul Festival, KUVO, KGNU, KUSA, WKNO, and numerous television and radio appearances in the U.S. and abroad 
  • Worked with a multitude of Grammy Award winning recording artists, producers, and engineers
  • Performed with dozens of Grammy caliber musicians from a wide variety of styles including James Williams, Bill Mobley, Sean Jones, Javon Jackson, Eugie Castrillo, Arturo Sandoval, Jeff Coffin, Doug Wamble, Helen de la Rosa, Tom “Bones” Malone, Ruben Alvarez, Tia Fuller, Vaneese Thomas, and Tony Reedus, among others 
  • House Band at the Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN - performed numerous touring Broadway shows including Chicago, Grease, Oklahoma, Annie, Victor, Victoria, and many more