When pianist/arranger/conductor Jeff Haskell sits down at the piano, something inventive and inspired happens. The word eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe his amazing musical dexterity.
Haskell’s professional credentials are as varied and vast as his musical talent.
He began his jazz career as a scat-singing boy soprano in Philadelphia. At age 12, he sang and played saxophone professionally, adding the organ a year later. Soon thereafter, Haskell immersed himself in jazz studies with pianist Ray Smythe and organist Jackie Davis, and at age 16, was jamming with saxophonist Lew Tabackin.
The first winner of the first American Collegiate jazz festival (Villanova), Haskell soon went on to play in Europe with flute great Jeremy Steig and trumpet legend Chet Baker.
Haskell has won three Los Angeles Emmy Awards for his work on the much celebrated children’s TV program, “Dusty’s Treehouse”, and critics praised his theme and underscore for the “IT Show” for ABC, for which he received a Los Angeles Emmy nomination. Some of his recent Hollywood music include arrangements on two Linda Ronstadt albums, cues for “Dudley Do-Right” and “Fight Club”. Locally, you can hear his work every half-hour in the 4-note station ID for KUAT-TV.
“Pastiche Americana”, a composition written for chorus and orchestra, was performed by The Little Orchestra in Lincoln Center. His “Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra” debuted with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. And he conducted the world premiere of Billy Taylor’s suite for jazz trio and big band, “Fiesta In Tucson”.
He may be the only person ever hired by the Tucson Symphony in the roles of pianist/conductor, arranger/orchestrator, and vocalist (tenor).
A veteran of hundreds of “jingles”, he has orchestrated an album for UP WITH PEOPLE!, has recorded a legendary synthesizer album for Capitol Records, and has served as music director, arranger and conductor for country music legend Buck Owens, with whom he recently completed an album with the Bakersfield Symphony.
Haskell received a B.A. in Music Education from West Chester University (PA) and a Masters in Theory from the University of Arizona . While studying for a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Arizona, he served as the second Director of the Tucson Boys Chorus, which continues to perform extensively in the U.S. and abroad.
He is co-founder and musical director of the Tucson Jazz Orchestra and, as a senior faculty member in the School of Music & Dance at the University of Arizona, Haskell is the Area Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Director of the Recording Studio.