National Touring Acts
His name was given him by legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia, who called him "Esteban" during his years of study with the master in Spain (1974-1978) and in the United States. Born Stephen Paul in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, son of a steelmill worker, Esteban saw his first guitar in a shop window when he was 8 years old. His uncle bought it for him and Esteban says, "It never left my hands."
From that moment on, he focused on the guitar, teaching himself to play and practicing every spare moment. Esteban's dream was to be able to express his deep inner feelings through his music. He wanted to study with legendary classical guitarist Andres Segovia, but being self taught, it seemed impossible, since Segovia only accepted students of other classical guitarists, in the traditional settings of master classes. So he gave up on that quest for a while, attended college, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1972, majoring in guitar and English literature.
After a relentless pursuit in Los Angeles, Segovia finally permitted Esteban to play for him in 1974. Segovia gave him a long list of specific pieces of music to learn and promised Esteban that he would listen to him again the following year, when he returned to Los Angeles for concerts. When Segovia returned and heard Esteban play, he invited the student to Santiago de Compostela, inEsteban in Concert northern Spain, for master classes. After these classes, Segovia invited Esteban to Madrid to study privately with the maestro in Segovia's famous 4th floor studio on Avenida Concha Espina. These were memorable times in Esteban's life, never to be forgotten.
For four years Esteban studied with the master whenever possible, in Spain and in the U.S., and in 1978 Segovia gave Esteban his endorsement. Esteban returned to the U.S. and began touring.
Esteban has topped the Billboard charts many times with his numerous albums, videos and DVD's, and has had first-time music history successes never before accomplished by any guitarist. He has been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his famous appearances and record-setting album sales on Home Shopping Network. Esteban enjoyed a full feature article in People Magazine as well as thousands of accolades from newspapers, magazines, and dedicated fans everywhere.
In the great tradition of the folk groups of the 60s, The Folk Collection entertains with its unique blend and sound, and with a repertoire that is familiar to audiences of all ages. Tony Unger, Ed Labowitz and Mike Sirota, along with bass man Bob Packham, sing songs of the 60s and early 70s, reflecting their love of the story songs, great melodies, and three part harmonies of that acoustic era.
The Folk Collection’s shows are family friendly and can be for a multi-generational audience. Even teenagers, “dragged” to an evening with parents or grandparents, leave the show smiling and humming tunes they just heard and sang along with at the show. The group encourages audience participation, energizing the crowd with family-friendly humor and ad libs between songs.
Singing songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “This Land is Your Land,” “City of New Orleans,” to John Denver classics, The Folk Collection’s shows are nostalgic and entertaining. Their shows produce standing ovations from audiences and rave reviews from presenters.
Since 1983, the Side Street Strutters have captured the excitement, vitality, and spontanaiety of JAZZ-America's musical heritage!
The ensemble has brought to the stage an exciting, entertaining and educational show experience which has been enjoyed by audiences in Theaters and Performing Arts Centers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.
The Strutter's vast repertoire includes traditional jazz of New Orleans, featuring the legendary sounds of such artists as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller. Popular jazz melodies of Porter, Gershwin, and others are stunningly reworked into brilliant new entities without losing any of their essential charm. Exciting swing sounds of the big band era featuring the music of such famous artists as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie are also featured.
In addition to exciting musical arrangements which showcase the extraordinary talents of each performer, the Strutter's entertaining show style presentation also includes colorful costumes, tap dancing, vocal selections, novelty numbers, and the use of rare and unusual musical instruments.