07.17.16"And Still You Must Swing" reviews in NY Times, Berkshire Edge

"Pianist Carmen Staaf is blessed with terrific timing, powerful technique, and a unique capacity to swing complex melodic and harmonic ideas" - Eli Newberg, The Berkshire Edge



05.17.16White House Performance/Workshop

The Monk Band recently performed at the White House for International Jazz Day, as well as giving a workshop for Michelle Obama and local high school students. The band was joined by Herbie Hancock, Bobby Watson, Terence Blanchard, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Click the link below for the full video!

05.02.16NY Times review of Kennedy Center Performance with Al Jarreau/Dee Dee Bridgewater

Carmen's duet with tap dancer Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards at the Kennedy Center was mentioned by Nate Chinen in the New York Times as a highlight of International Jazz Day. The Monk Band performed there in an all-star concert featuring Al Jarreau, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Sumbry-Edwards. Read the review at the link below:

01.11.16Kennedy Center Jazz Piano Christmas now on NPR

The full performance at the 25th Annual NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas at the Kennedy Center can now be heard at http://www.npr.org/2015/12/11/459075864/a-jazz-piano-christmas-2015 or click "launch related site" below to be taken to the page.

The show featured Carmen along with Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch and Joey Alexander playing holiday favorites in the Terrace Theater.

12.03.15Kennedy Center/NPR Jazz Piano Christmas!

The Kennedy Center's Jazz Piano Christmas features Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander and Carmen Staaf playing solo piano renditions of holiday classics. The show will be broadcast on NPR; stay tuned!

11.18.15Carmen tops Revive Music's list of "6 Young Pianists You Should Know About"

"Pianist for the current class at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Carmen Staaf has already garnered a lot of attention for her musicality and creativity. Honors she has received include winning the 2009 “Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz" pianist competition and being chosen to perform as a guest soloist with Jazz at Lincoln Center under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. She has played with such masters as Bob Brookmeyer and George Garzone and was a student of Danilo Perez. Studying classical music for 12 years, she studied music in Cuba for a year before beginning a five year double-degree program that awarded her an anthropology and a performance degree. Her debut album, Reflection, was released in 2008 and, before moving to Los Angeles to complete her master’s degree at the Monk Institute, she was on staff at Berklee College of Music."

Read the full article at the link below:

04.06.15Monk Institute to Paris, Morocco, Playboy Festival

Carmen will be traveling to Paris (for International Jazz Day) and then to Morocco to perform with Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Thelonious Monk Institute Ensemble. In June the ensemble will play with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.

02.24.14Thelonious Monk Institute

Carmen was accepted as the pianist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA. She was chosen by a panel including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Burrell and James Newton, and will be part of a class of young musicians studying with jazz masters, touring, and performing outreach concerts.

02.01.14Monk Institute Finals!

Carmen was selected as a finalist for the 2014 Thelonious Monk Institute at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music. The final auditions for this prestigious program take place in mid-February, where she will perform for a distinguished panel. Stay tuned!

04.17.13New videos from ShapeShifter

Stay tuned for new videos! First, tracks from a show featuring Adam Kolker, Jorge Roeder, Colin Stranahan and guest Yoon Sun Choi playing new compositions and music from "Reflection". Then, video from the Raphaelle Brochet/Carmen Staaf Duo's performance at ShapeShifter including new songs, settings of Sanskrit and Farsi poetry, and dance.

10.05.12New videos up

New videos from the August Cornelia St Cafe show are now up. The show featured Mat Maneri (viola); Tammy Scheffer (voice); Matt Aronoff (bass); and Dan Pugach (drums). Here are the links: , , . Enjoy!


Carmen recently started working with Jazz at Lincoln Center's WeBop program as an accompanist for the classes. This program uses jazz improvisation as a tool for developing creativity and self-confidence, among other qualities, in young people.

10.26.11Carmen guests with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra

Carmen performed as a guest with The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in early November. The concerts, aimed at students and families, explored the music and life of Duke Ellington.

08.25.11Carmen interviewed on The Jazz Session

Carmen sat down with Jason Crane of The Jazz Session to talk about duo playing, anthropology, meditation, and her new album "Eye to Eye". To hear the podcast (and hundreds of other interviews with musicians from all over the musical map), please click the link below. "Eye to Eye" is available at www.cdbaby.com/cd/carmenstaaftrio as well as on itunes and amazon.

08.16.11"Eye to Eye" on itunes/cdbaby

The mostly-live new trio record "Eye to Eye", featuring Kendall Eddy (bass) and Austin McMahon (drums) is now available at itunes and cdbaby. Most of the tracks were recorded at Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival in November, and the music is a mix of originals and pieces by Mary Lou Williams, Lennon/McCartney and John McNeil. Click the link below to hear samples and buy the record.

05.23.11Teaching in India

Carmen will join the faculty at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music near Chennai, India, from October through December 2011. SAM, led by internationally renowned guitarist/composer Prasanna, is the first school in India to offer professional training in Rock, Jazz, Classical and World music. Other faculty members will include Dafnis Prieto, drums; and Lara Bello, voice. The faculty will work with talented students from India and around the world, as well as performing in various cities throughout India.

04.14.11"Eye to Eye" CD release May 20th

The Carmen Staaf Trio's new album "Eye to Eye" is due out May 1st. The NYC CD release will be on May 20th at 9:30 pm at Ibeam (www.ibeambrooklyn.com). The record, with Kendall Eddy (bass) and Austin McMahon (drums), features music recorded live at Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival including originals and pieces by Mary Lou Williams, John McNeil and the Beatles. Download information and other tour dates coming soon! To be added to the mailing list, please go to the "contact" section and enter your info. Thanks!

04.09.11Jazz NW radio feature 4/10

The Trio's Earshot Jazz Festival performance (Nov 2010) will air on Jim Wilke's Jazz NW show on KPLU 88.5 FM Sunday April 10th at 1 pm PST. The program will also be available as a podcast at www.kplu.org starting Monday morning. This broadcast will be a preview of the trio's upcoming release "Eye to Eye" (with Kendall Eddy, bass; and Austin McMahon, drums), featuring some of the same live tracks as well as studio tracks.

03.31.11NPR JazzSet appearance this weekend!

The Carmen Staaf Trio's performance at the Kennedy Center during the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Festival will be broadcast on NPR's JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater this weekend! It will be available for listening anywhere, any time starting Thursday, March 31st, at www.jazzset.npr.org; it will be broadcast on wbgo 88.3 FM (NY/NJ area) Sunday April 3rd at 6 pm and Wednesday April 6th at 6:30 pm. For listeners outside of NYC, please check your local NPR station listings for air dates and times. The show will also feature the music of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

02.25.11Upcoming CD: Highlights from the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

Carmen's performance of "Aries" from Williams' Zodiac Suite will be included on a CD of highlights from the 2010 festival, which was Williams' centennial year. The annual festival, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, showcases the music of the great Mary Lou Williams and features prominent female jazz artists. Carmen won the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition.

11.01.10All About Jazz New York "Listen Up" Feature

Carmen was featured in the November 2010 issue of All About Jazz New York. Click here for a link to the issue. The "Listen Up" column on page 12 features her thoughts on playing with Henry Grimes (with whom she will play a duo show at the Stone on November 10th), her trio, the moment she decided to become a professional jazz musician, and more...

10.24.10New Prana Trio review

(excerpted from the review, by Dave Wayne for www.jazzreview.com): '...Carmen Staaf, the other pianist featured on "The Singing Image of Fire", repeatedly delivers the goods throughout this recording. Blessed with impressive technique and finely-tuned musical instincts, Staaf really shines with glittering improvisations full of unexpected twists and turns on "In Our Idleness" and "Courteous to the Ant". She sounds a little like Chick Corea on the vaguely Latin-sounding "I Felt Love". While these tunes represent the jazz-oriented side of Prana Trio's vast musicscape, "Kangbyunsalja" comes from an entirely different place. A setting for the words of the Korean poet So Wal Kim, the music has an Asian tonality and a decidedly ritualistic feel, featuring Staaf on accordion (which she plays beautifully) backed by [co-bandleader Brian] Adler's malleted toms and gongs. Throughout "The Singing Image of Fire", [co-bandleader] Sunny Kim's voice sings, murmurs, cajoles, and whispers with intelligence, clarity, and beauty...Redolent of a variety of musical approaches, influences, and styles, including free-improv, densely harmonized modern jazz, art-rock, ethnic and folk music, and avant classical, "The Singing Image of Fire", at times, sounds like some great lost recording on the ECM label.'

09.07.10Second night at Earshot added!

The Carmen Staaf Trio will perform at Tula's in Belltown for two nights as part of Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival. The shows are November 4th and 5th, starting at 7:30 both nights (see www.tulas.com for directions and www.earshot.org/Festival for the full festival schedule and more info). The Trio features Kendall Eddy on bass and Austin McMahon on drums.

09.07.10Jazz Piano Workshop in New Delhi

Carmen will give a workshop on jazz piano at Furtados Music India in New Delhi, in association with Bridge Music Academy, Sunday September 5th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Furtados is located at B-14, Basement, Lajpat Nagar=II, Delhi. The workshop is open to pianists wishing to play, and to the general public.

07.01.10All About Jazz review of Kennedy Center show

'Next to take the stage was Carmen Staaf, winner of the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Pianist Competition. Performing with a trio, Staaf presented a mix of original compositions and pieces somehow related to Williams. For each, Staaf provided a detailed explanation of its origins, adding a heartfelt explanation of her respect for William's music and generosity of spirit. Equally sincere in her playing, Staaf delivered clearly articulated ideas, particularly on her own well-structured original compositions. Of particular note was her solo piece "Rory."' - Franz A. Matzner, All About Jazz, June 24, 2010

05.27.10Washington Post review of Kennedy Center show

"Winner of the festival's piano competition last year, Staaf could have earned a small slot on the program on the strength of her technique alone. What stood out, though, were her compositions, particularly the fanciful "Merry Go Round," and her trio's fresh interpretation of Denzil Best's "45 Degree Angle," a Williams favorite." - David Malitz, The Washington Post (click below for the full article with photos)

03.01.10Kennedy Center Performance

The Carmen Staaf Trio performed on the main stage of the 2010 Mary Lou Williams Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on May 20th. The trio, featuring Kendall Eddy on bass and Austin McMahon on drums, played on the opening night of the festival. Carmen was a featured performer this year as the winner of the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition. To watch her award-winning competition performances, go to http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M3860&type=A (for the first round) or http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M3842&type=A (for the second round). Carmen is the fourth performer in each video.

02.25.10NYC CD Release announced!

Legendary bassist/violinist Henry Grimes to play with the Carmen Staaf Trio at the NYC release of "Reflection"! After releases in Boston and Seattle, "Reflection" will be officially released in New York at Puppets Jazz (5th ave between 11th and 12th in Brooklyn) on March 16th. The show will feature Kendall Eddy (bass), Austin McMahon (drums), and very special guest Henry Grimes. 9 pm, $5 donation includes a copy of the album, $10 minimum (try the vegetarian food and the pie!). "Reflection" is available now at www.cdbaby.com/cd/carmenstaaf and on itunes.