Peter Mazza is an exciting jazz guitarist recognized for his creative and virtuoso interpretations of jazz standards as well as his passionate and thoughtful compositions. Blending clean and fluent lines with colorful chord voicings and driving pulse, he creates imaginative ensemble arrangements as well as lush solo guitar pieces.
Born and raised in New York City, he attended La Guardia High School of Music and the Arts, then went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and a Masters from The Juilliard School (his Masters on a full scholarship). He studied under guitarists- Allen Hanlon, Fred Fried, Jack Wilkins, Rodney Jones, Dennis Koster.
His performing career began while still in school when he earned the leader’s role at a four-night-a week jam session at Augie’s Jazz Bar, now called Smoke. He played there with Brad Mehldau, Roy Hargrove, Joel Frahm, Chris Potter, Donny McCaslin, Uri Cane, Christian McBride, Larry Grenadier, Dwayne Burno, Greg Hutchinson, Jeff Ballard and many others.
Peter went on to gain acceptance to the prestigious Thelonius Monk Jazz Competition, where he was ranked semifinalist.
He has performed guitar duos in NYC with Jonathan Kreisberg, Mike Moreno, Freddie Bryant, Pete Bernstein, Paul Bollenback, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jack Wilkins, Gene Bertoncini, Barry Greene and many more.
His groups have been featured at jazz venues such as Dizzy’s Club, Birdland, The Knitting Factory and the Cornelia Street Café and as part of special events held at the United Nations, Rainbow Room, Rialto Room, The Allen Room, The River Club, The Yacht Club, Tribeca Grill, Le Bernadin, Brigewater’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s.
12 years ago, Peter began a Sunday night trio residency at The Bar Next Door at La Lanterna that is still vital today. His trio has featured Hendrik Meurkens, Will Vinson, John Ellis, Donny McCaslin, Jon Irabagon, Patrick Cornelius, Jacam Manricks, Etienne Charles, Itai Kriss, Matt Penman, Matt Clohesy, Hans Glawischnig, Marco Panascia, Ben Williams, Haggai Cohen-Milo, Brian Charette, Ari Hoenig, Bruce Cox and many more.
Over the course of his steady-Sunday-night, Peter has favored the use of 2 different instrumentations that have complimented intimate size of the BND and the club’s exclusive trio format. Those trios boldly explore texture and rhythm without the presence of drums. They include a guitar with bass and horn group, then a guitar with keys and bass group. His current trio with Misha Tsiganov on piano and Thomson Kneeland on Bass just recorded a debut release called “Circles and Lines” on Peter’s own Urban Flower Records.
After successfully launching his residency-gig, early on Peter helped implement a 7-night-a-week schedule of jazz music at the Bar Next Door at La Lanterna that has featured an outstanding and diverse array of guitar and saxophone-led trios, from some of New York’s most seasoned musicians, to some of its most exciting new talent. In an effort to continue to expand the club’s offerings as its Musical Director, 3 years ago he designed and implemented an Emerging Artist Series that has featured the best college-aged musicians playing early sets that occur on 4 nights of every week.
Peter has been invited to perform and guest speak at New York University, The Manhattan School of Music and at the Peabody Institute. In his presentations he discusses how he initiated jazz nights at various restaurants and bars throughout the city and how that effort culminated in the conversion of the BND from a restaurant with jazz into a notable full-on listening venue. He advises students on creative and professional ways to assimilate into the New York Jazz Club scene, particularly into the Emerging Artist Series.
Peter has taught jazz guitar for over 20 years. He held long affiliations with The American Institute of Guitar/International Studio of Music, The National Guitar Workshop and The New School while retaining his active private studio. He has been featured in the pages of Just Jazz Guitar and Jazz Inside magazines where he has discussed his approach to arranging, writing and practicing. His solo guitar video of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on You Tube posses over 120,000 views.
The Juilliard School
Masters, Jazz Guitar/Composition/Arranging/Music Theory/Ear Training/Jazz History (2008)
Research and Projects
His first CD was in 2007, called Through My Eyes on the Japanese label Late Set Records. The disc presented 8 original compositions and 2 original arrangements. While the pieces drew from jazz, classical, rock, funk and ambient music, the evocative and personal nature of the music fused them. The release was supported with 2 tours of Japan.
Peter’s most current CD – “Circles and Lines” is scheduled for release in October of 2014. He has a solo guitar recording “Blues for the Ineffable” is scheduled for release in 2015.