1975-1994 Dixie Dregs - guitar  
1983- Steve Morse Band - guitar  
1985-1989 Kansas - guitars, vocals  
1994- Deep Purple - guitars, vocals  
2003- Living Loud - guitar  
2008- Angelfire - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synthesizer, keyboard  
2011- Flying Colors - guitar  
Live musician:
1991 Kansas - guitar  
Guest musician:
2011 Neal Morse - guitar solo  

Personal information

Born on: 28.07.1954
Official website


Morse's father was a minister and his mother a classically trained pianist; both were also psychologists. The family moved to Tennessee, then Ypsilanti, Michigan, where Morse spent his childhood. Although familiar with piano and clarinet, Morse ultimately became interested in guitar.

Morse worked briefly with his brother Dave in a band called The Plague until the family moved to Augusta, Georgia. In the late 60s, he played in a band called Three with his older brother. Enrolled in the Academy of Richmond County, he met bassist Andy West and, together, they formed the nucleus of the Dixie Grit, adding keyboardist Johnny Carr, guitarist and vocalist Frank Brittingham with Dave Morse drumming. However, this effort was short lived, since covering Led Zeppelin, Cream and the like limited their ability to get higher-paying jobs at local dance halls.

West and Morse continued to play as a duet billed as the Dixie Dregs until Morse's expulsion from school in the 10th grade (for refusing to cut his hair) enabled his enrollment at the esteemed University of Miami School of Music.

During the 1970s, the University of Miami played host to a number of future influential musicians, including Bruce Hornsby, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and others. Andy West also enrolled at the University of Miami and, with Morse, drummer Bart Yarnall, keyboardist Frank Josephs and violinist Allen Sloan, collaborated in a lab project entitled Rock Ensemble II. Rehearsing and performing Morse's compositions at the University of Miami brought some attention to his credibility as a composer and player. The group compiled a recording used for promotional efforts in 1975. This recording was eventually released as The Great Spectacular in 1997.

Dixie Dregs

Upon Morse's graduation from the University of Miami in 1975, he and West officially named the group Dixie Dregs. A fellow University of Miami alumnus, Rod Morgenstein, replaced the injured Bart Yarnall and the band commenced performing on a regular basis, interspersing their compositions with covers of John McLaughlin and of southern rock gems. Despite their decidedly non-commercial intent, an increasingly heavier performance schedule eventually led to the attention of Capricorn Records recruiters including Allman Brothers Band manager Twiggs Lyndon and, in late 1976, the group was signed by the vaunted southern rock label.

Their first effort for Capricorn, Free Fall, established Morse as an important newcomer to the fusion genre, and he was recognized for both his compositional skills (having written all 11 tracks) and his consummate musicianship. Although critically acclaimed as a pivotal jazz fusion album, the LP sold poorly.

What If was released in 1978 to continued acclaim. Writing credits were more collaborative and the band's sound had matured into something a bit more than what defined fusion at the time. Southern rock, classical, folk and country elements combined to form a cohesive and complex pastiche of passionate and highly listenable music. Though supported by a tour, record sales remained flat, but gained Morse and the band received an invitation to perform at Montreux Jazz Festival on July 23, 1978. The recorded performance was released the following year on Night of the Living Dregs. Capricorn went bankrupt in late 1979, and the Dixie Dregs were left without a label.

Arista Records stepped in to sign the band in 1979 to record three albums. Production control was handed to Morse, and Dregs of the Earth was released in May 1980. All eight tracks were written by Morse, and the album peaked at number 27 on Billboard's Jazz Album Chart.

Arista became increasingly concerned about Dixie Dregs' album sales and pressured the band to change their name to simply The Dregs in an attempt to increase the band's visibility in the public eye. Unsung Heroes brought eight additional Morse compositions forward in early 1981, but the name change did little to address Arista's worries. The Dregs were compelled to add lyrics to their next effort, appropriately titled Industry Standard, an apparent reference to executive and management oversight of their creative process.

Despite this, Morse's compositions on Industry Standard began to sound more like his evolving solo work than Dregs' collaborations, and the album stood up to critical and public praise. Industry Standard was voted "Best Guitar LP" by readers of Guitar Player magazine in their annual reader's poll that year. Additionally, Morse was voted "Best Overall Guitarist" in the same poll, an honor that he would hold for five consecutive years (which ended his eligibility by retiring him into their "Gallery of Greats", a distinction shared only by Steve Howe of Yes.) Having fulfilled their commitment to Arista, the band succumbed to the pressures of constant gigging, and disbanded in early 1983.

In the late 1980s, the group reunited for a tour featuring former members Morse, Morgenstein, Lavitz and Sloan. Their return was complemented by a "Best Of" release entitled Divided We Stand. Bassist Dave LaRue completed the line-up for a seven date tour culminating in the 1992 live album Bring 'em Back Alive. Violinist Jerry Goodman, of The Mahavishnu Orchestra fame, filled in for Sloan, who was frequently absent as a result of his busy medical career. They signed a deal with former label Capricorn Records for their first studio album in years entitled Full Circle in 1994.

Steve Morse Band and Kansas

Morse began putting together the Steve Morse Band, a trio with Jerry Peek (bass) and Doug Morgan (drums). Rod Morgenstein soon replaced Morgan, and they began recording The Introduction in September. The group toured Germany in early 1984 with Morse conducting clinics, and the group was signed by Elektra Records, who released The Introduction mid-year. A second German tour began in December 1984 and Stand Up was released in 1985. This effort included guest vocalists and guitarists (Eric Johnson, Alex Ligertwood, Peter Frampton, Albert Lee, Van Temple), and violinist Mark O'Connor. He toured with Rush as a main opener on their Power Windows tour.

In 1986, Morse joined the rock group Kansas. While with the band, they released two albums, Power and In the Spirit of Things. While he was with the band, Kansas had its last big hit, "All I Wanted," which reached the Billboard Top 20 and on which Morse received co-writing credit. Morse left the band after touring behind the latter album. He re-joined the band for part of their 1991 tour.

From late 1987 to early 1988, Morse worked as a commercial airline co-pilot.[2][3]

Deep Purple

During the 1993 Deep Purple tour supporting their The Battle Rages On album, Ritchie Blackmore quit the band at the end of the European tour. Before they settled on Morse as a permanent replacement, Joe Satriani served as a short-term replacement to finish the tour. Since then, Morse has played on four Deep Purple studio albums, as well as seven of their live albums.
[edit] Living Loud

In addition to playing with Deep Purple, Morse, together with Jimmy Barnes, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake and Don Airey, formed Living Loud in 2003. The group released one studio album and a live DVD in 2004/2005. In Spring 2010 it was reported that Steve Morse and Bob Daisley started work on the new studio album which is set for a release in 2011.
[edit] Angelfire

Morse began a collaboration with singer, Sarah Spencer, in 2007 entitled Angelfire. The album, of the same name, is due to be released on June 22, 2010 on Radiant Records. The album features Dave Larue and Van Romaine of the Steve Morse Band on bass and drums, respectively. The album has a textural, acoustic sound that differs from Morse's previous work. Angelfire opened for the Steve Morse Band for several shows in California (January) and Florida (March) of 2010.
[edit] Influence and technique

Morse is considered one of the hardest working guitarists in the world[4], playing in a wide variety of genres in only thirty years. He is known for his stylistically diverse compositional skills and virtuosic abilities[5], and was voted "Best Overall Guitarist" by Guitar Player magazine for five years in a row[6], qualifying him for their "Guitar Player Hall of Fame", the only other members being Steve Howe of Yes and Eric Johnson. He is regularly cited by John Petrucci as a major influence [7], and has proven himself throughout his career as capable of playing highly complex chord structures in classical sequences, as well as being able to play fast, shredded arpeggios. He is well known for using harmonics and improvising them in songs during live performances, such as in Deep Purple's "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming".

(source: Wikipedia)