Brad Whiteley has made a name for himself as a musician’s musician, a New Yorker who makes everything sound better – whether as the longstanding keyboardist in alt-pop star Regina Spektor’s group, as keyboardist in the pit band of Broadway musical Avenue Q or as music director and organist for the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in the Bronx, not to mention playing keyboards or programming synths for recording sessions of every stripe. Moreover, the Bronx-based Whiteley – as pianist-organist, composer and improviser – has the soul and touch of a jazz musician. For his debut album as a leader, Pathless Land (Destiny Records), he earned a four-star review from DownBeat, with the magazine also making the Destiny Records release an Editor’s Pick in June 2014 – dubbing Whiteley “an exciting young artist to watch.” This ever-busy performer released his sophomore Destiny album as a leader – the dynamic, melody-laced Presence – in October 2018. Bringing 11 of his original compositions to vibrant life, the new album sees Whiteley on piano lead an ace band of New York players: Michael Eaton (tenor saxophone), Tom Guarna (electric guitar), Matt Pavolka (double-bass) and Kenneth Salters (drums). Presence incorporates a characteristically wide world of influences into a warm, engaging whole, with Whiteley’s hooked-filled writing and fluid pianism leading the way.
Along with being the keyboardist of the Regina Spektor Band since 2012, Whiteley has worked with a wide range of other international artists, from jazz (saxophonist Dave Liebman, singer Kellylee Evans), pop (singer-songwriters David Byrne and Ben L’Oncle Soul), film (composer Alan Silvestri) and musical theater (performers Darius DeHaas and Lena Hall). Whiteley has performed on stages from London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House in Australia to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and the Greek in Los Angeles, not to mention such Manhattan jazz clubs as The Blue Note, the 55 Bar, Smoke, Smalls, and the Jazz Gallery.
Born in 1980 and a native of Upstate New York, the keyboardist is already a veteran performer on television from coast to coast, having appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Colbert Report, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and CBS Saturday Morning. In 2015, Whiteley composed the music for, and appeared in, the PBS Learning Matters show School Sleuth.
As a sideman, Whiteley has played keyboards on a string of jazz albums, all released via Destiny Records: Michael Eaton’s Individuation and Dialogical; Kenneth Salters’ Enter to Exit; trumpeter Jon Crowley’s I Walk Amongst the Humans; and guitarist Cameron Mizell’s Negative Spaces. In 2015-2016, Whiteley was the keyboardist, synth programmer and conductor for workshop performances of David Byrne’s musical Joan of Arc: Into the Fire at New York City’s Public Theater. He has also performed with the likes of Lionel Loueke, Myron Walden, Tim Hagans, Stan Killian, Paul Bollenback, Grace Kelly and the Dan Pugach Nonet. Whiteley received his master’s degree from Indiana University’s School of Music in 2005, studying jazz with David Baker and Luke Gillespie and classical piano with Edward Auer. Whiteley graduated with his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in Indiana, and he pursued further studies at the Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, Banff Centre in Canada, Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, Flaine Music Academy in France and Amerika Institute in Vienna. In subsequent years, he has worked in education himself, including as accompanist and bandleader for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Webop” music classes since 2013.