Roy Stevens was born on 1916. His father was a tailor who died when Roy was very young. This was during the depression era so his family faced financial hardships that befell many families. Roy began playing trumpet professionally in his teens to support his family.
Roy played with many of the named bands during the swing era: Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan, and Benny Goodman. Later Roy successfully headed his own big band recording for London Records. Roy’s big band won the Downbeat Band of the Year Award in 1950. He was managed by Joe Glaser, manager for Louie Armstrong, Billy Holiday, Hot Lips Page and Henry Red Allen. Roy also played in the section of the Raymond Scott Orchestra and most notably he played with Coleman Hawkins at Kelly’s Stable on 52nd Street.
Roy encountered William Costello who was a prominent trumpet teacher who also wrote a column in Metronome magazine. Later when Costello retired, Roy took over the studio referring to the teaching as the Steven-Costello System.
While teaching, Roy maintained his playing in combos and big bands. Besides private teaching, Roy was an Associate Instructor at the Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Roy taught trumpet embouchure until his passing in October 1988.