In the mid-1970s, Houben attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. When he returned to Belgium, he established the jazz seminar at the Liège conservatory, in association with Henri Pousseur. In his long career he played with Joe Newman, Bill Frisell, Toots Thielemans, Chet Baker, Mike Stern, George Coleman, and Gerry Mulligan.
He won the Belgian Golden Django in 2000 for best Belgian artist (first winner of the new category). Houben was one of the first musicians to see the potential of singer Melanie De Biasio, inviting her to perform at several concerts and a tour of Russia. He also appeared on her first album, "A Stomach is Burning". He currently teaches jazz saxophone at the Brussels conservatory.
- 1980: Chet Baker & Steve Houben (52e Rue Est)
- 1994: Blue Circumstances
- 1995: Songs by Gershwin & Porter
- 2000: Le Saxophone et le Jazz
- 2007: Un Ange Passe
- 2011: Darker Scales with Boyan Vodenitcharov
- 2017: Comptines (re-release of a 1982 album with pianist Charles Loos)