Greg Spero

GREG SPERO, pianist / composer and at 29 years of age, has established himself as one of the most revered and in demand musicians in the jazz, jazz fusion, instrumental hip-hop and electronic music.

Winner of the 2013 Chicago Music Award for Best Jazz Entertainer, Spero has performed with acclaimed musicians such as Arturo Sandoval, Corey Wilkes, and Robert Irving III, co-produced tracks with Ski Beatz (of Jay Z) and Shock G (Digital Underground founder) for hip-hop artists such as Murs and Mos Def as well as written music scores for movie and theater productions. The young musician's complex and developed discography is more reminiscent of that of a performer twice his age, which has earned Spero recognition as one of, if not, the premiere up-and-coming pianist from Chicago today. He is currently based in Las Angeles, California.

In early 2012, Spero was asked to join the Buddy Rich Big Band which has afforded him the opportunity to tour with the band, most recently to London and New York where the band headlined for the “Buddy Rich 25th Memorial Concert.” Spero followed this with a European tour featuring his original music performed in a trio setting at venues in England, Paris, and Germany. In 2013, he performed at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, and is currently working on his new album at Grammy-winning Hinge Studios. Spero brought 2013 to a close as one of the candidates on the Grammy Awards ballot for Best New Artist.

Greg began playing piano and composing at age three and started playing professionally at age fourteen. After high school, Spero studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition and Jazz Performance.

In 2006 Spero met nine-year Miles Davis collaborator and Music Director Robert Irving III. This chance meeting helped shape Spero’s early career, as Irving soon after adapted Spero as an endeared musical disciple and first-call referral. Irving composed the liner notes for Spero's most recent album, claiming that the “evolutionary arc [of the project] sets exceptionally high standards.”

is a devotee of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism which is present both in his day-to-day life and thematically in his music. He came to the practice through an encounter with one of his musical influences, Herbie Hancock, whom he met at Chicagoland’s Ravinia Festival. Hancock revealed that the practice had played a large part in his musical inspiration and creativity. Illuminated by Herbie’s experiences, Spero embraced the practice which would eventually provide the backdrop for his album, Acoustic. Spero continues to receive spiritual and musical guidance from Herbie.

As a leader, Spero has released five albums including the Greg Spero Trio’s Live in 25 (2005), Radio Over Miles (2010), which features his personal interpretation of a union between alternative music a la Radiohead and the music of jazz icon, Miles Davis which was nominated for the "Best Jazz Album" at the Chicago Music Awards. Live in Toronto, Spero’s third album, was recorded at Trane Studio in Toronto. Acoustic (2011) featurise all-original compositions in an acoustic piano trio setting, along with a unique interpretation of the Miles Davis composition "Blue in Green". The album incorporates mixed meter and the dark, Bill Evans-like tone of Spero’s playing. And his latest CD, “Electric” was recorded December 2013 at Hinge Recording Studio in Chicago with Junius Paul on bass and Makaya McCraven on drums and percussion.

Those hip to the music happenings in Chicago flock to Spero's performances at the House of Blues, The Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, Martyrs and Fitzgerald's among many other venues. While Spero’s influences range from Bach to Keith Jarrett to Herbie Hancock to Schoenberg, he draws his primary influence from American-born jazz and finds great inspiration in western electric dance music as well as the synthesized timbres of modern electronic music and contemporary hip-hop rhythms.

Greg has recently returned from performing with his Trio at The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan which he followed with a tour to the United Kingdom and Paris, France and New York City.

Spero’s evocative melodies are conjured into a powerful, arousing encounter for the ears, heart and mind. A lifelong musician, Spero’s twenty plus years of defining his soul with a keyboard set the foundations for his becoming one of the most exciting new artists on the jazz scene today.

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copyright 2022 Barb Bailey