Jazz pianist, trombonist, and composer/arranger, Jeff Presslaff has become a mainstay of the Winnipeg jazz scene since moving from New York in 1997.
Born in Manhattan, educated at Princeton and Wesleyan Universities, he has had a varied career working with many distinguished musicians, including Benny Carter, Bill Barron, Ed Blackwell, Roswell Rudd, Sheila Jordan, Bob Brookmeyer, Howard Levy, Stanley Jordan, Bill Watrous, George Garzone, Steve Nelson, Edgar Meyer, Sim Cain, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Josh Groban and many others.
In 2004, he was named Jazz Winnipeg’s Musician of the Year.
“He gets the harmony just right!”
— Wayne Shorter
Jeff is also a teacher of great distinction, having served on the faculties of Princeton University, Bard College, Union College, and The University of Manitoba. Since his arrival in Winnipeg, he has been the teacher of choice for many of the city’s top musicians.
Jeff is featured as a player, writer and/or producer on many recordings. Rhapsodies by Two, an album of keyboard duets with Will Bonness was nominated for a 2013 WCMA Jazz Album of the Year award; Red Goddess, a piano trio album of all original tunes, has been played on over 100 radio stations in N.America, and garnered a 2009 Best Instrumental Jazz nomination from Just Plain Folks, the world’s largest music awards.
- Impromptu – Jeff Presslaff & Julian Bradford
- Luxury Of Time / Drala – Michel Paré & Jeff Presslaff
- How Long Has This Been Going On – Martha Brooks & Jeff Presslaff
- The Complete Rebirth of the Cool – Jeff Presslaff
- Collective Unconsciousness – Jeff Presslaff
- All My Tomorrows – Martha Brooks
- Suite Messiah – WJO
- Steppin’ Out – WJO
- The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra – WJO
- Rhapsodies by Two – Jeff Presslaff & Will Bonness
- Red Goddess – The Jeff Presslaff Trio
- Crooked Cha – Papa Mambo
- Amanecer – Papa Mambo (latin/jazz)
- small girl, Big Banana – Aliza Amihude
- Brazilian Season – Marco Castillo
- Shield Romp – Dave Lawton
- A Little Tradition – Novillero
- North End Shuffle – Ken Gold and Special Grind
- CBC recordings – Ozmium (free improv trio)
Jeff has received many commissions for a wide variety of ensembles, including big band, clarinet choir, combined big band/wind ensemble, symphony orchestra plus salsa band, clarinet quartet and many others. He has arranged for many great performers, including Terence Blanchard, P.J. Perry, Denzal Sinclair, Cornelius Bumpus, Jimmy Greene and Andrea Brachfeld. His work is frequently supported by awards from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. He is the composer of the world’s only concerto for cello and big band.
He’s also featured on several recordings on the exploratory Inter/play label. His 1991 album of original compositions, Collective Unconsciousness, features the late Steely Dan saxophonist, Cornelius Bumpus, and Ui bassist, Wilbo Wright. He has also recorded the piano works of composers J. K. Randall and Benjamin Boretz. His writing and playing have been featured on recordings by Prudence Johnson, The University of Manitoba Jazz Ensemble and Ron Paley. His compositions and instrumental work have been heard nationwide on CBC.