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 but not limited to The Feenjon Group, The Peacemakers, Devil’s Anvil and Wings (obviously not Paul McCartney’s group). In 1969, producer/vocalist/bassist Felix Pappalardi organized Mountain. The initial line-up included Leslie West (guitar/vocals) and N.D. Smart (drums). Even though he was 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.
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, with which he performed for over twenty years. Knight then returned to traditional jazz. For the next 25 years, Knight worked in specialty engineering (as a door engineer), and as a songwriter, author and part-time musician.
He actually was primarily a bassist and multi-talented on other instruments including tuba, trombone, piano, organ and guitar to name a few. His latter years were spent as the bassist for the group Taksim, a Middle-Eastern heavily improvisational jazz group that played in complicated and odd-meter time signatures that boggle the Western mind.
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.