Pianist Jamael Dean, jazz virtuoso, to tap spiritual vein @ Piano Spheres


Sick.’ “Dig.’ ‘Respect.’ ‘Space Music.’ ‘Wow.’ ‘Just Wow.’ ‘Lovely.’
Jamael is a beast.’ ‘That drummer is on fire.’

These and other laudatory comments are posted on youtubecom in response to a 2020 video, “Kronos” streaming above. The man behind this music, the keyboard cat in the long braids, is Jamael Dean, a jazz prodigy whose c.v. includes collaborations with Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Carlos Niño.

As part of Piano Sphere‘s annual summer jazz series, Dean will share his music on Saturday, July 23, at Thayer Hall of The Colburn School, in downtown Los Angeles — a very serene room with great acoustics. It augurs a very mellow summer evening of free flowing “spiritual” jazz in the vein of Jamael’s Los Angeles contemporaries and jazz ancestors: Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and soul jazz drummer Donald Dean — his grandfather. It might be just the thing to calm your jangled nerves after the barrage of fireworks this Fourth of July.

Born in 1998 in Bakersfield, California, Dean was introduced to music at a young age and initially started out on violin. At nine, he was given a keyboard and learned to play by ear — guided by his grandfather. By his teens he was attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and a membership in the 2014-2016 Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School Septet, winning a 2016 Dolo Coker Scholarship, and earning a spot on the 2016 Grammy Band Jazz Combo. His talent also caught the attention of players on the greater Los Angeles jazz scene, including saxophonist Washington and bassist/singer Thundercat. He began expanding his interests, crafting electronic beats on his computer and merging jazz, funk, and hip-hop.

When asked why he lives in Los Angeles, Jamael replied, “It’s the only place I can go in the same day to a jam session with music from the ’20s and ’30s to another session with music in the ’40s through the ’80s, and after that, play music with my friends into the future.”

Jamael Dean | Piano Spheres Summer Jazz Series | Colburn School of Music | Sat July 23, 8 pm

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