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Leni and Mike Stern: Alone Together Duets


Guitarists Mike and Leni Stern are one of those awe-inspiring couples. More than 40 years together, they've had a front row seat in witnessing music history from their flat in Manhattan. Mike's credits include performing with Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius. Leni was named Gibson's "Female Jazz Guitarist of the Year" five times. They have another guitar hero, Bill Frisell, to thank for making the introduction back in 1977, when Frisell took Leni on as a private student at the Berklee College of Music. She asked Frisell to show her some rock licks, so he took her to a Mike Stern concert, and the rest is history.

The couple rarely performs together in public, yet they often make a point to jam in private. Before the lockdown, now one year removed, they had a rule that they would not spend more than three weeks apart on tour; otherwise, one would have to join the other on the road. "Now that we've been together for one full year," says Leni, who has an album coming out in June. "It's gonna be so hard to be separated. We are already plotting to minimize our time apart."

Here, we get to peak into one of their private jams, now on display for everyone to see: Leni's West African-inspired tune "The Cat Stole The Moon." Clearly, their love for each other is as palpable as it was four decades ago.

Produced by Jazz Night in America and The Checkout from WBGO.

Copyright 2024 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

Sarah Geledi
Sarah Geledi left her job in advertising in Montreal to pursue a career in music in New York City. She fulfilled that mission, producing content for the JAM Festival at WBGO, segments for The Checkout, and programs for WWOZ and PRI's Afropop Worldwide. She also served as a producer for NYC Winter Jazzfest before landing the "job of her dreams," producing radio for Jazz Night in America.
Simon Rentner
For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.