Life and career
LaSpina was born in Wichita Falls, Texas; his father and grandfather both played in dance bands. He attended the University of Illinois and DePaul University, and first began playing professionally in Chicago in the 1970s. He played with Bunky Green, Larry Novak, Joe Daley (1975–79), and Chet Baker (1978). In 1978 he also began working with Marian McPartland, with whom he would collaborate until 1986. He moved to New York City in 1979 and played with Mel Lewis's orchestra (1978–82), Stan Getz (1986-87), Jim Hall (from 1988), Andy LaVerne (from 1989), and Benny Carter (latter half of the 1990s). Aside from these associations, LaSpina has played with Toots Thielemans, Joe Williams, Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Bob Brookmeyer, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Pat Martino, and Tommy Flanagan. He has taught bass and improvisation at New York University and the College of St. Rose. LaSpina is currently on the faculty at William Paterson University.
LaSpina has recorded extensively as a leader for Steeplechase Records since the early 1990s.
- New Horizon with Marc Copland, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, 1992
- Eclipse 1994
- When I'm Alone with Marc Copland, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, 1995
- Story Time with Marc Copland, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, Vic Juris, 1996
- The Road Ahead with Billy Drewes, Jim McNeely, Vic Juris, Jeff Hirshfield, 1997
- When Children Smile with Dave Ballou, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, Vic Juris, 1997
- Distant Dream with Billy Drewes, Fred Hersch, Jeff Hirshfield, Ben Moeder, 2000
- The Bounce with Dave Ballou, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, 2001
- Remember When 2003
- Play Room with Dave Ballou, Billy Drewes, Jeff Hirshfield, Gary Versace, 2006
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With Pat Martino
- The Return (Muse, 1987)
With John Tchicai
- In Monk's Mood (SteepleChase, 2009)
With Marlene VerPlanck
- Once There Was a Moon (2008, Audiophile)
- Bill Milkowski, "Steve LaSpina", JazzTimes, April 2002.
- Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford, 1999, p. 402.