Mike Stern

Guitarist; Composer
Class of 
1975
Alumni

The bluesy style and blistering chops of Mike Stern have made him an electric guitar icon for more than four decades. An eclectic and virtuoso guitarist and composer, he first gained notice playing with Blood, Sweat & Tears; Billy Cobham; and Joe Henderson.

The Boston native revealed a great deal about his passion and dedication to his craft during a Berklee interview in which he recalled his time with Miles Davis. The jazz legend, who called Stern “Fat Time” for his physique (at the time) and sense of timing, helped provide the guitarist fame and a grounded sense of jazz. “Miles was a huge fan of the guitar,” said Stern. “For me, getting to play with him was a real thrill, but it was also terrifying.” Stern’s take-no-prisoners style was a concert attraction for this incarnation of Miles Davis’s band, and it placed him in the spotlight. “I loved playing with that rhythm section. It was so raw.”

Stern played with the band for several years before setting out on his own, releasing his first album, Neesh, in 1983. Fifteen albums followed, including Eclectic with Texas guitarist Eric Johnson, an album described on Stern’s website as a “six-string summit meeting.” Stern’s wife, Leni, added n’goni and vocals.

Stern's albums have received six Grammy nominations, and he was named a certified legend in 2012 by Guitar Player magazine. He remains active today, playing concerts throughout the United States and Europe.