January 19, 2013 – Steve Knight was born on May 12, 1935 in New York to artist parents. From 1938–1950 his family lived in Woodstock, New York. In 1950, his father became a professor at Columbia University and moved the family to New York City. In 1952, Knight graduated from high school and enrolled at Columbia later that year. He stayed at Columbia for most of the 1950s (1952–1959) studying art, music and psychology. He earned a B.S. degree majoring in psychology, and had one year of graduate work in psychology.
From 1959 to 1968, Knight recorded with or was a member of various bands including The Feenjon Group, The Peacemakers, Devil’s Anvil and Wings (obviously not Paul McCartney’s group). In 1969, producer/vocalist/bassist Felix Pappalardi organized the heavy rock band Mountain. The initial line-up included Leslie West (guitar/vocals) and N.D. Smart (drums).
Even though he became the keyboardist, Knight was really a multi-instrumentalist, mastering both string and wind instruments. Prior to release of Mountain’s debut album, Climbing!, Pappalardi, who had known Knight from prior musical affiliations, added him to the line-up on keyboards. Corky Laing replaced Smart on drums. The band enjoyed a great deal of recording and touring success in the early 1970s including 3 gold albums, but called it quits in 1972. He performed at the infamous Woodstock Festival.
After Mountain he performed regularly with the Red Onion Jazz band and his love of jazz and middle eastern rhythms lead him to join the musical group, Taksim, a Middle-Eastern heavily improvisational jazz group that played in complicated and odd-meter time signatures that boggle the Western mind. He stayed with Taksim for over twenty years after which Knight then returned to traditional jazz and worked in specialty engineering (as a door engineer), and as a songwriter, author and part-time musician.
In the mid-1990s, Knight left New York City and returned to Woodstock. In November 1999, he was elected to a seat on the Woodstock Town Board. He was re-elected to a second term in 2003. In 2007 Knight chose not to seek a third four-year term, instead choosing to focus on his personal life including several music projects.
Knight died January 19, 2013 in New York of complications from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 77.