Steve Cardenas has diverse credits as a performer and recording artist. Having started his musical career in Kansas City, he is now an integral part of the jazz community in New York.
Cardenas has backed up such greats as Eddie Harris, Marilyn Maye, Jay McShann, Claude "Fiddler" Williams and Slide Hampton. He has toured Europe extensively, performing at various jazz festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on three separate occasions and the North Sea Jazz Festival five times. He has regularly performed in groups led by such diverse artists as Paul McCandless of the group Oregon, trumpeters/composers Mark Isham and Jeff Beal, bassists Marc Johnson and John Patitucci, as well as vocalists Madeleine Peyroux and Norah Jones. Steve is currently a member of the Paul Motian Octet + 1, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, a group led by Joey Baron called "Killer Joey", as well as the Ben Allison Band. In addition, he leads his own trio performing at various venues around New York City.
Along with performing and recording, Cardenas is on faculty at the New School in New York where he teaches the Thelonious Monk Ensemble and gives private lessons. In 2003, Steve was guest faculty at the California Institute of the Arts and has been invited back for the spring semester of 2010. He has also been invited to participate in the Stanford Jazz Workshop in early August 2010. Other workshops have included Siena Summer Jazz Workshop, Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, Langnau Jazz Nights in Switzerland, Seda Jazz in Spain and Jamey Abersold Summer Jazz Camps. Also, in collaboration with editor Don Sickler, Cardenas completed work on a book of Thelonious Monk's compositions through Hal Leonard Publishing. The Thelonious Monk Fakebook marks the premier publishing of all of Monk's compositions together, with many of them appearing for the first time.