Oct 19, 2023 (10AM)

Teachers Forum - New Members Welcome And Luncheon

A natural born musician, Debbie took to the piano at five years old, playing show tunes and studying classical music. Hearing Monk and Miles as a teenager, she fell in love with jazz and decided to become a jazz pianist.

Downbeat gave Debbie’s latest CD, Loving Hank, a 4-star review, including it on its list of notable CDs for 2018, and wrote, “Debbie Poryes is a consistently inventive, talented modern mainstream jazz pianist who sounds very much like herself.” Jazz Chicago wrote, “Poryes’s playing is confident, yet playful, thoughtful, but full of life,” and All About Jazz said, “Poryes colors outside the lines and plays to challenge and compel, but never forgets to entertain.” Renowned jazz critic Herb Wong added, “Impressive, too, is how her swinging joyousness articulates every note she plays.” All her recordings contain Debbie’s own compositions as well as unique arrangements of standards and other jazz tunes. All can be streamed through Apple Music, Spotify, et al.

Debbie maintains a fulltime private teaching practice. She taught for 20 years at the Berkeley Jazzschool, many summers at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and she has given presentations to groups, including the California Music Teachers’ Association, and the Golandsky Institute. She taught for seven years at the Hilversum and Arnhem Conservatories in The Netherlands. She felt the call to teach early in her career and continues to adore helping students understand jazz and further their own playing. Her students enjoy her open-minded sensibilities, organization, and sense of humor.

At her presentation for us on Oct 19, Debbie will show us how to play “Sister Sadie,” a well-known jazz tune by the highly regarded jazz pianist and composer, Horace Silver. She will discuss the structure of the tune and how to play and teach both simple and more complex chord voicings as well as some strategies for improvising. She will give us some tools for developing a jazz swing feel and teach us how to count “Sister Sadie” with that jazz feel. She will call upon audience members to come up and try some of these skills with her guidance, and she guarantees that we will have a good time!

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