Shai Maestro (1987) is one of the most promising and talented pianists of his generation. Since his debut with his own trio in 2011, Shai has shaped a strong and unique personal identity and has portrayed an incredible musical fluidity, making Shai and his band one of the most powerful and harmonious groups in the jazz today.
2018 marked an important year for Shai, signing with major jazz label ECM and recording his first album “The Dream Thief” there, featuring his trio, but also him as a solo-pianist. Introspective, lyrical, virtuosic and differentiated.
In its review of ‘The Dream Thief’, All About Jazz spoke of “a searching lyrical atmosphere, emotional eloquence and communal virtuosity that serves the music.” All of which also applies to ‘Human’, Shai’s latest release on ECM, where Maestro’s outgoing, highly-communicative band with fellow Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder becomes a quartet with the inspired addition of US trumpeter Philip Dizack. Shai’s expansive pianism is well-matched by Dizack’s alert, quick-thinking approach to improvising. And, as ever, Maestro is taking the music forward while also respecting its sense of tradition. ‘Human’ was recorded at Studios la Buissonne in the South of France in February 2020, and produced by Manfred Eicher.
Shai Maestro began playing classical piano at age five and graduated with honors from the Thelma Yellin High School of Performing Arts in Givataim, Israel. After winning the National Jazz Ensembles Competition “Jazz Signs” in 2002 and 2003 and receiving excellency scholarships 2004-2010 from the America-Israel Cultural Fund for jazz piano, Maestro attended Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program in Boston, where he was awarded a full scholarship to attend Berklee full-time—an offer Maestro ultimately declined.