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Patti Wicks

In a jazz marketplace saturated with singer/pianists, Patti Wicks stands apart. She is the real thing - a pianist with a highly personal style of playing and a singer with an instantly recognizable voice. Her superior musicianship, impeccable taste and singular ability to dig deep inside the meaning of a lyric have earned her the respect of her fellow jazz musicians, the unqualified praise of jazz critics, and the admiration of a constantly expanding audience of devoted fans. Despite the inherent difficulties of a career in jazz, Wicks has remained steadfast in her commitment to the music and in her determination to find success on her own terms.

Patti Wicks learned to overcome challenges at a very early age. The former Patricia Ellen Chappell was born two months premature, a medical crisis that left her visually impaired. Fortunately, her hearing more than compensated for her limited eyesight. At the age of three, Patti sat listening to her mother play the piano. She then walked over to the piano and played note for note the song her mother had just finished. Her stunned parents realized that Patti had a special gift and decided to find her a piano teacher. However, all the teachers they spoke with had the same question - How do you teach the piano to a three-year-old who can't see the sheet music? It wasn't until Patti's parents met Pat Kleinmeyer that a they found a solution. A Julliard graduate, Kleinmeyer developed an innovative teaching method that would allow Patti to learn to play the piano by ear. In addition to the traditional classical piano training, she also encouraged Patti's natural interest in composing and improvising and taught her basic music theory.

Patti developed her passion for jazz while attending the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. At Crane, Patti studied with James Ball, an accomplished classical and jazz pianist. He introduced her to the music of many jazz greats, including pianist Bill Evans who would have a major influence on Patti's style as a jazz pianist. She quickly immersed herself in the music, listening to jazz recordings, playing at jam sessions and playing week-end gigs at clubs. By the time she graduated college she was ready to embark on a career as a professional jazz musician.

Over the next thirty years, Patti Wicks honed her craft playing New York City jazz clubs as well as clubs and concerts up and down the East Coast jazz circuit from Maine to Florida. Her trio featured a variety of musicians including bassists Sam Jones, Richard Davis, Brian Torff and Mark Dresser, and drummers Curtis Boyd, Louis Hayes, Mickey Roker and Alan Dawson. In addition to her work as a leader, Wicks has played with many jazz luminaries, among them Flip Phillips, Clark Terry, Cecil Payne, Frank Morgan, Ira Sullivan, Pete Minger, Richie Cole, Larry Coryell and Turk Mauro. She has also accompanied jazz vocalists Anita O'Day, Sheila Jordan, Carol Sloane, Rebecca Parris, Roseanna Vitro and Giacomo Gates. Throughout her career Patti has also been actively involved in jazz education teaching jazz piano at the college level, as well as working as a private vocal coach and jazz piano instructor.

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"Like the much-missed Carmen McRae, Ms. Wicks...scrutinizes songs with a raised eyebrow. Words and phrases are dismantled with a wry deliberation and an improvisatory boldness..." — Stephen Holden, NY Times

"It should be noted that Patti has the rare ability to excel as a singer, And as an instrumentalist, which talents place her in a very select category." —Mort Fega

"Patti Wicks is an exquisite singer-pianist whose MAXJAZZ release Love Locked Out is one of the finest ballad albums in recent times." — Scott Yanow

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