Joe Elefante is a multitalented keyboardist, saxophonist, vocalist, composer, arranger, and educator. He founded and led The Joe Elefante Big Band, which has been featured on ABC's Nightline, The Fine Living Network, BigBandJazz.Com, and AllAboutJazz.Com, and in The Wall Street Journal, The Star Ledger, and Jazz Improv magazine.
Joe's first release, Vanity Fair, is a collection of ten original compositions. Although the album is still grounded firmly in its jazz heritage, one can’t help but hear varied influences on the track “I Cry", which features the composer on vocals and keyboards. His second release, Here I Am, is an eclectic mix of pop, big band, and modern small group jazz. The album features not only the Big Band, but Joe's wife, Caryn, on vocals, and jazz greats Don Braden, Cecil Broooks III, Freddy Hendrix, Wayne Batchelor, and Matt King. The title track was written by Joe and Caryn for last year's American Idol songwriting competition. There are also four numbers featuring the Big Band, including revisits of "Danger" and "I Cry". The remaining five tracks feature various combinations of small jazz groups playing energetic, modern, swinging jazz.
Joe’s career to date has had many different folds. At only nineteen years old, he was musical director for a professional production of Me and My Girl at the Williams Center for the Arts in Rutherford, NJ. At age eighteen, he composed and recorded a full-length musical, A Paris Affair, and has since written compositions for big band, small groups, pop/rock bands, and chamber ensembles. His big band arrangement of “You’re My Everything” was recorded by the New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble on their release Wrappin’ It Up. Renowned jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks commissioned Joe to create big band arrangement of “New Rhumba,” and vocalist Rosanna Vitro commissioned two orchestral arrangements for a concert with the Mirabur Philharmonic in Slovenia.
In 2001, Joe was accepted to the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, DC. Later that year, he was accepted to the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop in New York City. In 2004 Joe joined Roseanna Vitro and her Trio as a Jazz Ambassador by the Kennedy Center and the U.S. State Dept and toured Eastern Europe. As a performer, Joe has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Joe has been musical director, conductor or keyboardist for Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway, the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ, and dozens of other theaters and schools. He has been on the faculty of the Paper Mill's Summer Conservatory, the NJPAC Jazz for Teens program, and Centenary College's Young Performers Workshop.
Most recently, Joe is a co-founder and Artistic Director of the Elefante School for the Performing Arts in New Providence, NJ. Check out www.elefanteperformingarts.com for more information.