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Heads Up International signs guitarist Mike Stern

Debuts with August 2006 Release


Heads Up International, one of the world's top crossover jazz labels, today announced the signing of an exclusive deal with guitarist Mike Stern, whose debut recording entitled Who Let The Cats Out? will be released on August 22, 2006. One of the premier guitarists of his generation, the three-time Grammy nominee continues to blur the boundaries between jazz, blues and rock.

"I first met Mike when I was performing and opened up for Jaco Pastorius in the mid-'80s and later when he was playing with Miles Davis" says Dave Love, President of Heads Up International. "His approach to guitar playing and his sound have always attracted me. As we continue to develop our sound with groups like Yellowjackets and Michael Brecker, it seemed like a natural choice to sign him."

"I'm really excited about being with Heads Up," Stern says. "I've heard nothing but good things about the label, especially from the artists that record for Dave Love. I'm looking forward to a long association with them."

Stern got his start as a guitar player with Blood, Sweat & Tears at the age of 22. He moved to New York City and was recruited by Miles Davis and played a key role in his celebrated comeback band of 1981. From 1983 to 1984, he toured with Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth band and in 1985 returned to Davis' lineup for a second tour of duty that lasted close to a year. In the summer of 1986, Stern went out on the road with David Sanborn and later joined an electrified edition of Steps Ahead. Stern made his debut on Atlantic Records in 1986 with Upside Downside. From 1986 through 1988, he was a member of Michael Brecker's quintet and later joined a reunited Brecker Brothers Band, appearing on 1992's Return of the Brecker Brothers.

Stern's acclaimed 1993 release, Standards (And Other Songs), led to him being named Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the readers and critics of Guitar Player magazine. He followed that up with 1994's Is What It Is and 1996's Between The Lines, both of which received Grammy nominations. In 1997, Stern recorded Give And Take, and won the Orville W. Gibson Award for Best Jazz Guitarist that year. Stern's next release was a six-string summit meeting with colleagues Bill Frisell and John Scofield that was appropriately titled Play. 2001's Voices, his first foray into vocal music, earned Stern his third Grammy nomination. His most recent CD, These Times, was released in 2003.


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