"One of the West Coast's best kept secrets" "She not only understands 'swing,' she infuses it into every composition, lyric, and particularly into her third recording, "After the Rain" - Andrea Canter, JazzPolice.com
"A hard-swinging, inventive pianist" "She prefers to describe herself as a jazz pianist who also sings, but the truth is that Schell handles both those hyphenates with plenty of style, imagination and grace" - Don Heckman (The International Review of Music)
"Pianist Gaea Schell has long been a local favorite, a talented pianist and a personable vocalist who has her own fresh phrasing" - Scott Yanow, Jazz Scene review for new release "After the Rain"
"Subtle romanticism" with a "distinctive, swinging touch" are words used to describe jazz pianist Gaea Schell. Accomplished and versatile, she - as drummer Albert 'Tootie' Heath has said, "plays the heck out of the piano with them small hands".
Known among her peers for swinging every note, subtle phrasing, and lyrical writing, Gaea is most recently compared by jazz aficionados to Monty Alexander (piano), Holly Hofmann (flute), and Carmen McRae (phrasing). This West Coast-based pianist/composer/vocalist (also flutist) is a native of Alberta, 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 to
checking out Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly and Bill
Evans records in the school library, inspiring a move East and subsequent graduation from the jazz program at acclaimed McGill University in Montreal.
The 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
where she studied with internationally known pianist/composer Richie
Beirach. Gaea (maiden name 'Brant') is a cousin of late classical composer Henry Brant (favorite composer Benny Golson a protege of)
Gaea recently made her California debut as a twice featured performer at the
San Jose Jazz Festival and has been performing professionally and internationally as a
pianist and recently vocalist in
diverse contexts. Her experience includes everything from trio to
quartet to orchestral performance. Notable
artists she has played with as a sideperson or for include Nancy King, John Stowell, Albert
'Tootie' Heath, Clare Fischer Big Band, Tony Dumas, PJ Perry, Marcus Shelby, Bobby Watson, Dan Faehnle
(former guitarist with Diana Krall), Vince Lateano, John Wiitala, Noel Jewkes, Tony Bennett and Gilbert Castellanos (member
of the Clayton/Hamilton Orchestra).
Steadfast swing and elegance of expression - trademarks of Gaea
Schell's music - guarantee her ability to engage her listeners.
Gaea is in-demand as a sideperson; also available duo with upright bass, trio or quartet for overseas, festivals, clubs, hotels, events... also available as a producer, arranger, composer and instructor. Gaea only performs for reasonable compensation and does not support any venue or individual who does not treat the artist well. Gaea also reserves the right to send suitable substitutes in case of emergency or particularly lucrative opportunity. For booking or other info, Gaea can be reached
at: (323) 828-4106, firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the contact page.