At the age of 23, after graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Israeli jazz pianist Roy Assaf moved to New York City to pursue his dream. Just a few months passed before he met legendary bassist and producer John Lee; soon Roy found himself touring around the world and playing the most prestigious festivals, clubs, and concert halls with the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars, a band that included James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Paquito D’Rivera, Roy Hargrove, Lewis Nash, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart, and other jazz masters. Before long, Roy was getting calls from some of the world’s most influential contemporary jazz bands: Slide Hampton Sextet, The Mingus Big Band, Steve Turre’s bands, Roberta Gambarini Quartet, David Sanborn Group, Claudio Roditi Quartet, and many others.
While completing his master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, Roy established his reputation as one of the most sought-after young pianists in the New York jazz scene. In 2012, he released his debut album, Respect, on Jazz Legacy Productions accompanied by Reuben Rogers on bass and Greg Hutchinson on drums.
Roy was ready to establish a band of his own.
“I’ve always dreamt of having a band that works regularly together,” he explains, “a band that shares a special musical connection, sound, feel, and time. I want to bring the experience of playing with musicians I admire and also share my own voice, both as a musician and as a human being.”
In 2013, Roy formed a trio with Raviv Markovitz on bass and Jake Goldbas on drums. Together they began to establish the unique voice of the Roy Assaf Trio. They have performed across North America at venues such as The Blue Note and the Rubin Museum of Art. Their debut album, Second Row Behind The Painter will be released in May 2014.
“I love playing in other people’s bands, painting their compositions with the colors I hear in my head,” Roy says. “But for now I’m excited to dive into my own personality as a pianist, composer, and band leader; deliver stories from my life into my music; and discover what Raviv and Jake bring from their own backgrounds to the trio.
“It’s a journey to unknown boundaries. We take the audience on a quest every time we take the stage.”
1.ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award (2008)
2. 31st Downbeat Student Music Award - Outstanding Performance (2008)
3. 30th Downbeat Student Music Award - Best Arrangement (2007)
4. Charlie Palmieri Memorial Piano Competiion - 2nd Place (2006)
5. Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute Award (2004-2006)
6. America-Israel Cultural Foundation Prize for Young Musicians (2000-2004)
“Roy Assaf marries tradition, both American and Israeli, into a new form of jazz. This type of culturally
relevant music is vital for the future of jazz. I am certain that his musical contribution will earn many
followers.” (Jason Moran, March 2008)
“Roy Assaf is an amazing pianistyou will defiantly be learning a lot of good things about him.”
(Kenny Barron, April 2007)
“Roy Assaf is a strong young pianist with a good sound and feeling. He was a pleasure to work with and
brought some good energy to my ensemble.” (Joe Lovano, May 2005)
“I was impressed with his knowledge of the Jazz idiom, his harmonic concept and the flow of ideas
during his solo improvisation. I believe he has a great talent and a potential to become one of the
“players” in the Jazz world.” (Michel Camilo, Dec. 2003)