South-African jazz guitarist, having recorded his critically acclaimed debut Dawn Dance in 1981, Eliovson completely disappeared from the music industry for reasons as of yet unknown.
“I just got back from Cape Town, S Africa … I spent a week and a 1/2 making a nuisance of myself at various gigs/jams. I got to sit in with Bensonphile, Richard Caesar, Wes-o-phile, Alvin Dyers and other sundry bands/guys. So on saturday I was invited to a party at great pianist Robert Payne’s pad. There were a few people there, and one guy was introduced as “Steve”. About 1/2 way thru the nite I heard “Steve” mention recording in Germany. I tentatively asked him for his last name, and his response FLOORED me: Eliovson. This was the legendary Steve Eliovson who recorded on ECM in ’80 and promptly vanished. He is a legend amongst SA gtr players, and here he was in front of me alive and well !!!!! He told me lots of stories of hanging with Towner and Abercrombie et al, and how the exigencies of survival forced him to abandon his gtrs in NY storage NEVER to return to music – sad freaking story … Anyway I pulled out my gtr and he played a bit. Rusty, but with glimpses of a Mclaughlin style … He told me he was in Europe to record his 2nd ECM date and the weekend before recording commenced he broke a leg ski-ing in the Alps. It all began to fall apart for him after that. They postponed the rec. date, and Steve went back to NYC where he was living at the time. He said he couldn’t really play gigs or get around with a cast up to his hip in NY and he was living on someone’s couch. He decided to store his belongings and head back to SA to regroup. He never got back … and it seems he lost momentum … I could sense the sad regret/loss behind his eyes … He mentioned hanging with Richie Bierach in those days, and that Richie was living in a literal “shoebox”: one room with barely space to move. He also recalled jams with Towner and Abercrombie where they all got so stoned that guys were literally falling over while playing … His sad story reconfirmed to me that if you can simply find a way to keep playing music in your life (never mind being a “star” or “famous”) you can count yourself lucky …”