My name is Keith Saunders and I am a jazz pianist, as well as a piano teacher. I am a transplanted New Yorker and Los Angeleno, and since 2010 I have resideded in the Bay Area in a town called Albany. Where is Albany, you ask? It is a quaint hamlet sandwiched between Berkeley and El Cerrito. Where is El Cerrito? Nobody knows.
I grew up in Van Nuys, a suburb of L.A., and studied improvisation with the vibraphonist, Charlie Shoemake. Being a cocky kid, I eschewed college for a life of fifty dollar gigs. In those halcyon early years, however, I was fortunate to work with some great musicians, among them, Roy McCurdy, Bill Holman, Bill Watrous, and Dick Berk. They gave me the encouragement, as well as the confidence to move to New York City.
During my twenty-six years in New York I worked with Richie Cole, Richie Vitale, (basically anyone named Richie) Hank Crawford, Mickey Roker, Ralph LaLama, Frank Wess, and Valery Ponamarev, among others. In 1991, I became the leader of The NY HardBop Quintet, a cooperative unit featuring Joe Magnarelli and Jerry Weldon. The band was together for eight years and during this span recorded four CDs for the TCB label.
In addition to recordings with NYHBQ,I can be heard on Jerry Weldon's live-recorded Midtown Blues(Amosaya), Andrew Beals' Gravy Train, John Dooley's Just Passin' Through, and Olga Boatman's Swingin down the Volga. My debut CD, Lost in Queens was released in April of 2010 on TCB and features bassist Bim Strasberg, and drummer, Taro Okamoto.
In addition to being a mainstay on the Bay Area jazz scene I teach all levels of piano, I specialize in jazz improvisation, which I can teach to all instruments except the drums. Having taught beginning piano for ten years at The Sacred Heart School in Yonkers, New York, I am enthusiastic about teaching children.
I welcome you to my humble digital abode. Feel free to poke around -- read some essays, hear some tracks, and kick the tires. Whether you are ordering a CD, enquiring about lessons, or simply chiding me for my enduring love of the Mets, I wish you a good day.