While Jeff Barnhart is now a highly regarded pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, pedagogue and entertainer, he had very humble beginnings. Jeff commenced his professional career at age 14 playing and entertaining four nights a week in a restaurant in his home state of Connecticut. Here he began to learn the classic swing, jazz and ragtime repertoire of the early 20th century. Jeff put himself through college playing throughout New England including stints with one of his childhood influences, the Galvanized Jazz Band. In the 1990’s he toured the US and Canada, playing most of the major festivals on the circuit with either the Hot Cat Jazz band or the Draga-Vax Connection.
The 21st century has seen Jeff in demand as a soloist and band pianist at parties, festivals, clubs and cruises in all corners of the globe. He currently manages the Titan Hot 7, one of the most acclaimed bands in the country. In addition, he leads two bands in the UK: the Fryer-Barnhart International Jazz Band, which concentrates on hot music of the 1920’s, and Jeff Barnhart’s British Band, which performs small group swing of the 30’s.
In addition to his widely acclaimed solo and band appearances, Jeff is enjoying great success performing with smaller groups, most notably the trio We Three with clarinetist Bob Draga and drummer Danny Coots and also Ivory and Gold, a duo with his talented wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. Through her encouragement, he is now including classical works as part of his performing repertoire. Ivory and Gold is becoming a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the US and the UK, while We Three is garnering praise from both audiences and critics at major festivals, concerts and parties.
Jeff enjoys playing dual piano and has done so with such jazz luminaries as Ralph Sutton, Neville Dickie, Louis Mazetier and John Sheridan. He also performs ragtime with Mimi Blais and Brian Holland. In addition to his own label, Jazz Alive Records, Jeff plays piano and sings on the international labels GHB, Summit-World Jazz Records, Music Minus One, and the two largest jazz labels in the UK, Lake Records and P.E.K. Sound. He has recently been signed on to the Arbors Records label. His forthcoming premier Arbors CD is entitled “In My Solitude.” Jeff has been featured as both pianist and vocalist on over 50 full-length recordings.
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