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To find out more about Dr. Joe's many jazz-influenced compositions, please visit Jazzmuze.com

Joe Utterback, JAZZ PIANIST

    Joe Utterback (b. 1944) has been a compelling artist on the American jazz scene for more than fifty years, which have included European and American tours, as well as long-term gigs in the jazz centers of Kansas City, St. Louis, San Francisco, and currently New York City. Recent annual engagements include Tony Awards Galas and the Empire State Building Christmas entertainment. His piano style has been greatly influenced by Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, and Art Tatum. “Utterback brings…what might best be described as a composite of the greatest American and jazz piano styles of the century . . . a technique that makes light of every hurdle . . . married to contemplation and to colour and to phrasing and shaping of ideas.” – Pianoforte, London.

 

       The artistry and vitality of his solo piano concerts throughout the United States are the highlight of many concert seasons. The audiophile voice calls Joe’s recorded improvisations “A roller coaster of sudden and surprising changes . . . finger-breaking flight . . . boogie-woogie and barrelhouse styles, Tatumesque wild chases, Garneresque right-hand chording, and more pianist licks and tricks than should be squeezable into five minutes.” By contrast, his subtle moments evoke great tenderness and warmth. His CD’s with Connoisseur Society – Gershwin: Porgy & Bess Jazz Suite, Blues and Ballads at the Movies, Night & Day, Christmas on the Mountain, Night Train, Stardust, and So Many Stars – each display the fascinating variety of Utterback’s style. Dr. Joe’s JAZZ Gospel, jazzDreamz, and Souvenirs! have been released by Jazzmuze, Inc.

       As evidenced by his CD titles – blues, ballads, Broadway, and traditional jazz have been hallmarks of Utterback’s piano. The Kansas-born artist’s deep roots in traditional jazz stem from sessions with Ruth Searce, one of Wichita’s finest jazz pianists in the 50’s and 60’s, and gigs with Native-American blues singer Ginny Lou. These were formative years, when great jazz pianists reigned on every corner of the city. Utterback’s youth in Pentecostal circles nurtured his gospel style. He draws heavily on Romantic and Impressionist piano traditions. His Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas followed degrees in classical piano performance from Wichita State University. Joe’s nearly 400 published compositions reflect the energy, color, and moods of his improvisations. His many jazz-influenced works for piano, voice, chamber music, organ, and choir have been performed throughout the United States and in more than fifty foreign countries. These works, pubished by Jazzmuze, Inc., have won annual ASCAP awards since 1991. His music has been performed in such prestigious venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Princeton University Chapel and Richardson Hall, as well as at Harvard. In 1999 Connoisseur released pianist David AllenWehr’s recording of twenty-four Utterback works, including the “Concert Fantasy on Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess,” Three Spirituals in Jazz Style, “Tuxedo Blues,” “Dr. Joe’s Long-fingered Ragtime Special,” and commissions by music teachers for intermediate students. The recording utterbackanalia by Dr. Andrew Shenton (Boston University ) features Joe’s organ music on the Mander at St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC. Skyscape includes Joe’s piano and organ duets, recorded by Drs. Marnie Giesbrecht and Joachim Segger at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Canada. Audley Green, Australian harpsichordist now in Boston, chose five Utterback compositions for her CD Spirituals and Rags: Jazz Harpsichord.

       Chosen to perform and lead workshops at national and regional conferences of organizations such as National Federation of Music Clubs, College Music Society, and American Guild of Organists, Utterback has taught more than twenty years at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT. He has resided in the New York City area since 1983. He has served since 1996 as Director of Music/Organist at the First Congregational Church, Stratford, CT.

 
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© 2002-12  Dr. Joe Utterback.  All rights reserved.