Eastman School of Music (B M) / New England Conservatory (MM)
Peggy Stern switched from classical to jazz improvisation, via salsa and R&B. Her musical adventure has been rich and varied: from Machito to progressive jazz, she has a particularly broad and eclectic background. Peggy is well-known as a composer, with four of her tunes featured in the Sher Real Book series. She has worked extensively with Lee Konitz, Emily Remler, Jay Clayton, Diane Schuur, Stanley Turentine, Gary Peacock, David Fathead Newman, George Mraz, Billy Drewes, Thomas Chapin, to name a few. She has toured Europe, Japan, Australia and the US; she has appeared at Jazzpar(Copenhagen), Montreal, DuMaurier, Manly (Sidney), Port Townsend, Bell Atlantic, IAJE and JVC Jazz Festivals, the San Miguel International Jazz Festival. She recently toured Italy with Lee Konitz, and Giulio Martino..
Peggy is the Artistic Director of the Annual Wall Street Jazz Festival, which is in its 4th year.
In May / June, Peggy played in Colorado, San Francisco. Later in the summer she taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. In October Peggy taught and played concerts in Anchorage and Homer, Alaska.
Her latest CD is Estrella Trio.
An Electronic Press Kit is available at:
“Peggy Stern is a polar point in jazz today, in many ways a beacon. While so many of the “young lions” reap plaudits and attention (deserved or not), Peggy typifies a whole group of musicians who have been doing the real work of advancing jazz, in her case especially through her brilliant writing. Never one to wait for the world to catch up, Ms. Stern has been busy writing, performing, and forging new alliances. Everything she writes wants to dance, and her music also makes unusually wide dynamic and stylistic demands.”
-- Ken Dias of Jazziz
“Stern is eclectic to the nth degree.”
--Nels Nelson, Philadelphia Daily News
“Stern’s tunes can be funky as much as sublime. She seems to be looking for thresholds continually, whether swinging melodically before swaying off into doubletime, or decorously exploring the mid-register of the piano with warm, enticing results.”
--Andy Bartlett, Earshot Jazz Seattle
“Stern was a good foil for Konitz, more rhythmically direct (she rode the groove especially well on her ‘Lunasea’ solo), and a fine melodist.”
--Ed Hazell, The Boston Phoenix
“Stern justifiably gets equal billing with the old wizard [Konitz] on one of the best realised records he’s probably ever done [‘Lunasea’]. It’s the interplay of the two principals which creates the most intense music, and their two duets are pristine enough to leave one aching for a full album of the same.”
--The Wire (U.K.)
“Peggy Stern, a long-time Konitz collaborator, has a background in classical music, as her lovely touch and often impressionistic, sometimes dissonant playing illustrate. Her major jazz influences seem to be Bill Evans, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett, and there’s a bit of Tristano in her as well; her special ability to play in the samba groove shines through.”
-- Harvey Pekar, liner notes
for Lee Konitz’s “Rhapsody”
“Stern is one of the few jazz players who is also an authentic Latin player. ‘I didn’t play all those montunos all those years for nothing,’ she laughs. Her connection to the Brazilian scene in New York has enhanced her rhythmic concept. That kind of concentrated percussiveness fits Stern’s high energy intensity.”
--Sandra Burlingame, Earshot Jazz Seattle
“Peggy Stern is a consummate performer. Her improvising, whether forceful or lyrical, is consistently fresh and intelligent, and she’s a laudable composer.”
--Harvey Pekar, Cleveland Downtown
“Pianist Peggy Stern has been compared to Dave brubeck, Red Garland, Thelonius Monk, and Lennie Tristano. Illustrious company, to be sure...”
--Deni Kasrel, JazzTimes Magazine
“It seems unfortunate to see jazz limited to the confines of categories like “free”, or “bebop”, or “latin”, etc. It’s very human to want to be comfortably within some kind of bounds, but my music endeavors to be comfortably within my own bounds. Luckily, I studied classical music before I came to improvisation, and these are some of the sounds I hear and the tools I use.”
-- Peggy Stern
Jazz Composers Collective
“The influence of Latin American, post-bop and classical music can be heard...Stern has developed an original piano style, with roots in bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, and Bela Bartok.”
--Harvey Pekar, Cleveland Herald
“Estrella Trio” (Estrella) trio with Lew Scott, Peter O’Brien
“Duality” (Mediterranea Music Factory) duo with Giulio Martino
"Actual Size", (Koch) a sextet with horns, and chorus and rhythm section
"Room Enough",(Koch) piano trio, with Harvie S., Jeff Williams
"The Fuchsia", (Koch) with Thomas Chapin, Drew Gress, and Bobby Previte
"Pleiades", (Philology) piano trio with Ben Allison and Jeff Williams
"The Jobim Collection", (Philology) a duet album with Lee Konitz .
This collaboration with Konitz produced several other recordings, most notably:
"Lunasea" (Soul Note)
"Brazilian Rhapsody" (Venus)
While living out west in the 80’s, Peggy recorded these albums:
"City Hawk" (BAM).
“The Christmas Collection” (Etoile)
“Amy’s Song” (Windham Hill Piano Sampler)