Dr. Steven Roberts is associate professor of jazz studies and trumpet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Previously, he was assistant professor of trumpet and jazz at Mars Hill College after holding a similar position at Iowa State University. He is an active teacher and freelance musician and has performed with Kirk Whalum, Vincent DiMartino, Ryan Anthony, Jon Faddis, Allen Vizzutti, Cecil and Deedee Bridgewater, Chip McNeill, Jim Pugh, Charo and many others. His group “The Roberts Jazz Project” released their album Let’s Fall in Love in 2012. This album features Roberts on both trumpet and keyboard. He is also music director for Unity Church of Birmingham and Saint Junia United Methodist.
As director of the UAB Jazz Ensemble, Roberts has led the group to first place in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame competition three out of the last four years. Roberts has premiered arrangements for trumpet ensemble at two International Trumpet Guild conferences, and in October 2012 premiered an original brass quintet arrangement on an Eastern European quintet tour. In the summer of 2014, Roberts toured Europe for a month splitting time with the UAB Faculty Brass Quintet, the rock band “Downright”, and completing the tour with his group “The Roberts Jazz Project.”
In the spring of 2011, Roberts presented with Dr. Andrew Wolvin (University of Maryland, College Park) at the International Listening Association Conference on a panel entitled “Musical Listening.” The project sought to explain the effect of musical techniques on speech. In the summer of 2013, Roberts was the scholar for the Birmingham Library film/discussion series “America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.”
Along with jazz experience as a member of “the Roberts Jazz Project”, “Steve Roberts Jazz Quartet”, “Birmingham Seven”, and various jazz ensembles aboard Holland America and Royal Caribbean cruise ships, Roberts has also had extensive classical ensemble experience performing with the UAB faculty Brass, the Mountain Empire Brass Quintet, the Johnson City Symphony, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony and Sinfonia da Camera.
Dr. Roberts received his Bachelors in Music in 1999 from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he studied classical music from members of the Cleveland Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Al Couch and Bill Lucas respectively, and studied jazz from Kenny Davis, Robin Eubanks, Wendall Logan and Neal Creque, freelance musicians from Cleveland and New York.
Dr. Roberts received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in trumpet performance and jazz at the University of Illinois (U.C.) in 2005, where he also received his Masters degree in 2001. He was a soloist with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony, served as principal of the University Orchestra, and filled the jazz chair in the top jazz band. At Illinois he studied trumpet from Ray Sasaki, Michael Ewald, and Ronald Romm, and jazz from Chip McNeill, Vern Sielert, Ron Bridgewater and Thomas Wirtel.