Steve Nieve (born Steven Nason, 19 February 1958, in London, England) is a keyboardist, best known for his work
with Elvis Costello.
The Royal College of Music student joined Costello's backing band The Attractions in 1977. He played on most of Costello's projects over the next ten years, including the albums This Year's Model (1978), Imperial Bedroom (1982), and Blood & Chocolate (1986). He wrote the material on The Attractions' Costello-less album, Mad About The Wrong Boy, under the name Norman Brain, in collaboration with his wife, Fay Hart. (The back of Trust's faux movie poster has Nieve "as Steve Hart".)
In the mid 1980s, Costello began to work less frequently with The Attractions and stopped working with them entirely between 1987 and 1993. During this period, Nieve focused on session work for other artists (The Neville Brothers, Hothouse Flowers, Graham Parker, Squeeze, Tim Finn, Kirsty MacColl, Madness) and led the house band on Jonathan Ross' UK TV series The Last Resort.
Costello reunited The Attractions for 1994's album Brutal Youth. Although the reunion was relatively short-lived (they split again in 1996), the Costello/Nieve collaborations never stopped. They have toured as a duo, and Nieve has contributed keyboards to all of Costello's albums since the mid-1990s, including 1998's Burt Bacharach collaboration Painted From Memory, 2001's Anne-Sofie von Otter collaboration For The Stars, and 2003's North. In 2001, Costello formed a new backing band consisting of Nieve, Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, and bassist Davey Faragher.
The band was subsequently dubbed The Imposters. Elvis Costello & The Imposters have toured extensively and released the albums When I Was Cruel (2002), Cruel Smile (2003) The Delivery Man (2004), and The River In Reverse (2006) with Allen Toussaint.
In addition to his work with Costello, Nieve has released several solo albums, including Keyboard Jungle (1983), Playboy (1987), It's Raining Somewhere (1996), Mumu (2001), and Windows (2004).
In 2003 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Elvis Costello & The Attractions.
Nieve's opera, Welcome To The Voice, a collaboration with Muriel T odori, is released on Deutsche Grammophon in May 2007. Welcome To The Voice is a multifaceted piece that welcomes voices from different musical worlds. It lives on the juxtaposition of men who have rough, untrained voices, coming from jazz or rock (Robert Wyatt, Elvis Costello, Sting), with women who have classically trained voices (Barbara Bonney, Amanda Roocroft, Nathalie Manfrino, Sara Fulgoni). The score has been composed for the Brodsky Quartet while Marc Ribot, Ned Rothenberg, and Steve Nieve himself improvise with a jazz feeling.
In recent years Nieve has lived in France
with T odori.
Composer, Steve Nieve and playwright, Muriel Teodori collaborate with his rock comrades Elvis Costello, Robert Wyatt and Sting as well as opera stars Barbara Bonney, Amanda Roocroft, Sara Fulgoni, and Nathalie Manfrino, celebrating the voice's sensory, even extra-sensory power, in Welcome To the Voice. This modern opera aims to unite the black and white precision of classical writing with the color of chance and "happy accidents" associated with improvised music. The result is an exquisite and colorful body of work that opens a door to a new frontier in music. The creators of this "work about unlikely encounters" are composer Steve Nieve and librettist Muriel Teodori. Nieve, a classically trained pianist-composer from London, has been a fixture in Elvis Costello's bands since 1977. A solo musician in his own right, Nieve has worked with artists from David Bowie to Anne Sofie von Otter, while Teodori, with whom Nieve has shared his life for over a decade, is a psychoanalyst, author, filmmaker, and playwright.
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