b. 4 September 1949, Newark, New Jersey, USA. Colson played piano from early childhood and studied extensively, attaining a degree at Northwestern University School of Music before settling in Chicago where he became an important member of the Black Artists Group (BAG). During this period, he married singer, lyricist and educator Kristine Browne (Iqua Colson). In 1982 the Colsons moved to New Jersey where, in 1989, Newark City Council named 13 November as Steve Colson Day. The proclamation honoured the premiere of the pianist’s multi media work, ‘Greens, Rice, And A Rope’, at Newark Symphony Hall as part of a national celebration of New Music America. Colson is acclaimed in the contemporary jazz world as both performer and composer. Among many musicians with whom he has worked and on occasion recorded are Muhal Richard Abrams, Ed Blackwell, John Blake, Hamiet Bluiett, Anthony Davis, Richard Davis, Benny Golson, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, George Lewis, Branford Marsalis, T.S. Monk, Butch Morris, Hannibal Peterson, Rufus Reid, Max Roach and Henry Threadgill. Colson worked with Roach and Amiri Baraka on their bop opera, Bumpy Johnson, and collaborated with Baraka and Richard Wesley on a commission from the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. He was also conductor and arranger of the music of Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith as a part of the Lost Jazz Shrines project.
Colson has been very active in jazz education since the early 80s when he became involved with the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program, a project of the National Endowment for the Arts. Among his many teaching credits are membership of the faculty at Bloomfield College in New Jersey and Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. Recordings by this highly gifted pianist are all too few but include appearances with Andrew Cyrille (My Friend Louis), Baikida Carroll (Marionettes On A High Wire), and David Murray (New Life). In the late 90s, a reunion of BAG colleagues, instigated by Kahil El’Zabar, assembled for a recording session. Under the group name Bright Moments, El’Zabar, Colson, ‘Kalaparush’ Maurice McIntyre, Joseph Jarman, and Malachi Favors, recorded Return Of The Lost Tribe. In the early 00s, Steve and Iqua Colson have recorded together jointly credited.