Laura Dreyer, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, has been a dynamic member of the New York jazz scene since her arrival. Her original compositions fuse elements of jazz, funk, and rock with a Brazilian flair, creating a unique, contemporary palette of sound with a wide array of textures.
Mysterious Encounter, her longstanding Brazilian-jazz ensemble features Dreyer on saxophones and flute and has featured many well-known musicians in the Brazilian Jazz idiom. The group headlined the Kennedy Center’s "Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival" in 2001 and opened for David Sanborn at the Syracuse Jazz Festival in 2000. They have also performed at many of New York City’s top clubs, including Sweet Rhythm, Birdland, Le Bar Bat, Sete MOMA, The Fifth House Performance Space, El Taller Latino Americano, Caviarteria, La Belle Epoque, Zanzibar, Europa Café, and most recently, an eight month engagement at the popular Tribeca lounge, Dekk. Laura’s debut CD, “Mysterious Encounter,” is available at cdbaby.com/lauradreyer. In addition, Laura also produced a compilation CD entitled Sax in the City on Apria Records, for which the proceeds benefit breast cancer charities.
A multi-instrumentalist, Dreyer is in great demand as a sideperson. Her love of Brazilian music in particular has been fostered by her work with such noted musicians such as vocalist Leny Andrade, guitarist Romero Lubambo (who has performed as a guest with Mysterious Encounter), pianists Dom Salvador and Weber Iago, drummer Portinho, percussionist Helcio Milito, as well as many others.
Audiences have heard her burning alto and rugged tenor in the bands of such diverse artists as Dr. Billy Taylor, Rufus Reid, Akira Tana, Walter Bishop Jr., Mel Lewis, Robert Palmer, Nnenna Freelon, Lea Delaria, and saxophonist/author James McBride. Laura has toured Cyprus with the Broadway show Five Guys Named Moe, performed in the national tour of the Duke Ellington tribute Hit Me With a Hot Note which featured Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., and recently played in the on stage band of the award winning musical Hot and Sweet at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Dreyer has also appeared with various big bands and small ensembles at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Village Vanguard, 7th Ave. South, S.O.B.’s, the Hartford Jazz Festival, and the Savannah Jazz Festival, as well as tours of Europe and Japan.
A scholarship student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Dreyer studied with noted music educators Andy McGee, Joe Viola, and John LaPorta. In addition, she took private lessons with saxophone greats Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, composers Lyle Mays and Jim McNeely. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Laura three grants: one in performance and two in professional jazz study/composition. She participated in the BMI composition program conducted by composer/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Four of her songs have received honorable mention in Billboard Magazine's songwriting contests.
Dreyer was a founding member and contributing arranger for the big band DIVA. She remained with the ensemble for six years, playing both lead alto and tenor. With DIVA, she performed at Tavern on the Green, annual conferences for the International Association of Jazz Educators, New York’s famed Blue Note jazz club, the Kennedy Center, and such prestigious festivals as Newport, Montreal, Pori, and Berlin. Since Diva accompanied a wide range of solo artists, Dreyer also had wonderful opportunities to perform with major talents such as Rosemary Clooney, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Jack Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Rebecca Parris, Maurice Hines, Diane Schuur, Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, and many others.
Dreyer is very active as a music educator, having served on the faculties of the Jamey Aebersold jazz clinics, Cazedero Music and Arts Camp, and the New York Pops Salute to Music program. Laura is currently a faculty member in the Jazz Department of the prestegious Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, New York where she teaches jazz woodwinds, theory, conducts ensembles, and leads jazz improvisation classes, in addition to being a clinician at high schools and colleges on a regular basis. Dreyer was a featured columnist in Saxophone Journal for five years, and contues to write for various music publications including Jazz Improv Magazine, and Sax on the Web. In addition to her music career, Laura has studied and performed comedy improv and sketch comedy at The People’s Improv Theatre and the Magnet Theatre in New York City, and has appeared on television and radio as an improv actor.
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