The American Pianist, Ira Stein, debuted in 1982 alongside oboe player Russel Walder on the Windham Hill release Elements. Apart from 1986's Transit, he otherwise spent the majority of the decade confined to a series of Windham Hill collections as well as several releases by labelmate William Ackermann. Stein reunited with Walder in 1990 for Under the Eye. The duo toured extensively throughout the USA.
In 1991, Iar Stein formed a new group which features the original combination of piano, cello (Hans Christian), and soprano saxophone (Dann Zinn). The new music is a highly melodic acoustic mix where jazz meets classical- a dynamic balance of form and improvisation. The group released Carousel (1992) and then Spur Of The Moment (1994) on Narada Records.
Their most recent recording, Bach Improvisations, was recorded live in concert at Yoshi's, a well- known jazz club in Oakland, California. This highly original album features lyrical and elegant improvisations on nine Bach Chorales. It was released in 1999 on the Lost Time Records label. All three musicians on Bach Improvisations have extensive backgrounds in both jazz and classical music. On soprano saxophone is Dann Zinn whose professional credits include performances with Freddie Hubbard, Toshiko Akiyosho, and Joe Henderson. He also has received top prizes at major music festivals. On cello is Joseph Hebert, an accomplished and versatile musician who has played with such artists as Leontyne Price, Stevie Wonder, and Natalie Cole, and has appeared with several major symphony orchestras.
Ira Stein has also recently released a CD of ten beautiful and haunting Eastern European folk songs with vocalist Irina MIkhailova. It is called Esquisses, which means "Sketches", and features Dann Zinn on soprano and tenor saxophone, Paul McCandless on English horn, and John Loose and others on percussion.