Paul Steinbeck was pleased to return to the University of Chicago in 2009 as a post-doctoral fellow in music theory. During the 2009–10 academic year he taught undergraduate theory courses and a graduate seminar on improvisation research. He completed multiple Chicago-themed writing projects, notably an article about the Art Ensemble of Chicago (for Jazz Perspectives) and a series of publications concerning the musical and social practices of the late tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson.
Steinbeck gave talks at the Chicago Cultural Center, the University of Indiana, Miami University, and at the Department of Music Colloquium Series. He was a fellow at the Mannes Institute on Musical Aesthetics, and he collaborated with Department colleague Melvin Butler on a panel discussion and demonstration concert at Rhodes College in Memphis. Steinbeck was also active on the Chicago jazz scene as a bassist, composer, and bandleader; in June 2010 he debuted a new ensemble at the Velvet Lounge.
His 2010–11 activities will include teaching and a book project on the Art Ensemble of Chicago. He is also planning a concert tour of France with percussionist Famoudou Don Moye.