Saturday, January 16th – 7:30-10 pm
The Gaea Schell Trio

Bassist John Wiitala and drummer Greg Wyser-Pratt join Canadian pianist/vocalist Gaea Schell, who’s been making her mark on the San Francisco jazz scene since arriving a couple years ago.

john wiitalaGreg Wyser-Pratt

gaea schell 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the judgment of Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, Gaea “plays the heck out of the piano with them small hands.”

Known among her peers for swinging every note, subtle phrasing, and honest lyrical writing, Gaea is a native of western Canada where she grew up playing music from an early age. Recorder lessons at age 6 with family friend, the late San Francisco based drummer Eddie Marshall, was one of her first musical ventures.

Pursuit of a classical harp degree led her to check Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans records out of the school library, inspiring a move East and subsequent graduation from the jazz program at acclaimed McGill University in Montreal.

Gaea’s real learning, however, came from playing on the bandstand with respected elders who spent considerable time themselves playing with greats such as Joe Henderson, Wynton Kelly, Ella Fitzgerald. Gaea feels “it’s so important to listen, experience, and understand the tradition of this music”.

A 1999 Canada Council for the Arts grant took Gaea to New York City where she studied with internationally known pianist/composer Richie Beirach. Gaea (maiden name ‘Brant’) is a cousin of late classical composer Henry Brant, whose protege Benny Golson may be Gaea’s favorite composer.

Gaea recently made her California debut as a twice featured performer at the San Jose Jazz Festival and has played with such important jazz players as Nancy King, Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, Clare Fischer Big Band, Marcus Shelby, Bobby Watson and Dan Faehnle (guitarist with Diana Krall) as well as local heroes Vince Lateano, John Wiitala and Noel Jewkes.