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Brian Torff

Brian Torff

Brian Torff is a renowned bassist and composer, and is currently Music Program Director at Fairfield University.

He is a featured bass soloist, leading his own trio, and is the musical director for the Django Reinhardt New York Festival, which has appeared at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Birdland in New York City. Torff has performed at Carnegie Hall for Fiddle Fest where he appeared with Mark O‚Connor, Dave Grusin, Regina Carter, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchus Zukerman. He performs in jazz festivals around the U.S., has founded the Fairfield University Summer Jazz Workshop and has served as co-chair person for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Brian Torff’s professional career began in 1974 when bassist Milt Hinton offered him the opportunity of touring with Cleo Laine. During the late 70’s, Torff recorded and performed with pianists Mary Lou Williams and Marian McPartland, and toured Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong with the jazz violin virtuoso, Stephane Grappelli. He played in pianist Erroll Garner’s last group and worked in the big bands of Oliver Nelson, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra.

In 1979, Brian Torff joined in a duo with pianist George Shearing. In the course of their 3 1/2 year collaboration, they toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, and South Africa and were featured on the NBC Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, and their own PBS special from the Café Carlyle in New York City. They received worldwide acclaim, and were invited to perform at the White House in 1982 for President Reagan. Their third album won a Grammy for vocalist Mel Tormé.

Brian Torff is a noted composer who has contributed works for records with George Shearing, Larry Coryell, Union trio, and his own recordings- Life in East Bumblepuck, Hitchhiker of Karoo, Manhattan Hoe- Down, and Workin’ On a Bassline. He has written scores that have been performed by the Boston Pops, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh Symphony, and has appeared as conductor, composer, and clinician for numerous high school and college jazz festivals. He is a published writer on music and musicians, composes for big band, and directs the Summer Jazz Workshop at Fairfield University. Torff is listed in the Groves Dictionary of Jazz and has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Downbeat Magazine, Jazz Times, and many other music publications.

Brian Torff lived in Paris in early 2008, where he wrote his book, "In Love With Voices: A Jazz Memoir." Torff is currently featuring his bass playing and new compositions in a trio and quartet setting. He resides in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Brian Torff's webslte

List of articles in the library by artist

Blood Sweat & Tears: Seeing Through The Past Darkly

Retrospective and Interview by Brian Torff, International Association of Jazz, 2005

HISTORY HAS a strange and highly selective memory. The past seems to lie in shadows with a filtered and distorted prism for a lens, and ...

Duke Ellington: The Unknown Ellington

Comment by Brian Torff, Green Mountain Jazz Messenger, Fall 1999

THIS BEING the anniversary year of Duke Ellington's 100th birthday, there are so many tribute concerts to the master composer that he seems more alive ...

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