March 16, 1954 |
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Brian Q. Torff (born March 16, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois) is a US jazz double-bassist and composer. He is currently a music program director at Fairfield University in Connecticut. The Fairfield Arts Council named Torff its 2008 Artist of the Year.
Torff is a professor of music and the director of the music program at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He makes frequent appearances at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts leading the Fairfield University Jazz Ensemble along with guest jazz artists including Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Bernard Purdie, Milt Hinton, Dave Samuels and Paul Wertico.
Brian Q. Torff is a bassist and composer. 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 Pinchas 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 violinist 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 3½ year collaboration, they toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, and South Africa and were featured on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and their own PBS special from the Cafe Carlyle in New York City. They received worldwide acclaim, and were invited to perform at the White House in 1982 for President Ronald Reagan. Their third album won a Grammy for vocalist Mel Tormé.
Torff has composed works for records with George Shearing and Larry Coryell, and his own recordings "Life in East Bumblepuck," "Hitchhiker of Karoo," "Manhattan Hoe-Down," and "Workin' On a Bassline." He has composed 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.
Brian Torff is the author of the book In Love With Voices: A Jazz Memoir, which chronicles Torff’s early musical roots and portraits of musicians he has worked with, including Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Erroll Garner, Benny Goodman, Mary Lou Williams, Marian McPartland, Stephane Grappelli, and George Shearing. He currently leads the rock band, Phantom Pluckers.
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With George Shearing
- On a Clear Day (Concord, 1980)
- Blues Alley Jazz (Concord, 1980)
- An Evening with George Shearing & Mel Tormé (Concord, 1982) with Mel Tormé
With Sonny Stitt
- Dumpy Mama (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
- Brian Torff Website
- In Love With Voices Site for Torff's memoir
- New York Times Feature
- Fairfield University Music Program