Carmen Staaf

Artwork: ‘Foramen’ by Tayo Heuser


“Carmen Staaf is a consummate jazz pianist with equal talent in composition, orchestration and arranging. I [am] impressed by her consciousness of blending instruments and musical elements from various cultures. For me this is a step in the right direction that indicates her inroads into promoting a sense of global citizenry. She very much displays a complete knowledge of the history of her instrument but more importantly Carmen is constantly reaching beyond history and is not afraid to go into the unknown and challenge herself at every moment. A bright future awaits her.” -Herbie Hancock


“Science Fair is a true collaboration between two impressive leaders, though what makes you sit up and pay attention the most is Staaf’s pianism. It’s brilliant, enriched stuff, as rugged as it is lush. Still a rather unrecognized figure, her playing comes from a lineage that favors Mary Lou Williams over Art Tatum, Herbie Nichols over Herbie Hancock—but every one of those figures is in there. Science Fair suggests we’re just starting to see how deep her talents go.” -Giovanni Russonello, DownBeat









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Pianist/composer Carmen Staaf is an active voice in the NYC and global music scenes. Steeped in straight ahead jazz, her versatile skills and sensitivity have led her to perform in a wide range of settings with some of the most influential musicians of our era. Currently, she is the pianist and Musical Director for NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater. Her past major performances have included the Playboy Jazz Festival in a two-piano setting with the legendary Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Kennedy Center playing solo piano alongside Kenny Barron and Fred Hersch. She has been heard at the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, SFJazz and major jazz festivals around the world including the Montreal and North Sea Jazz Festivals, among many others.



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