Jesse Gelber

Jesse started his career as a modern jazz player and as a teenager appeared with such legendary Beboppers as Max Roach, George Russell, Gregory Hutchinson, and Roy Hargrove. He played at the 1992 Monterey Jazz Festival with Jon Faddis. That same year he won the Marvin Wolff Jazz Piano Competition and headlined at Yoshi’s Night Club in Berkley, CA. It was later while he attended The New England Conservatory of Music that Jesse became interested in stride.

In rebellion to the “cookie cutter” aspects of music school, Jesse began playing the Boogie Woogie piano styles of Meade “Lux” Lewis, Albert Ammons, and Pete Johnson. It was from this more soulful approach to music that Jesse returned to jazz and started playing the different styles of stride piano. While in Boston, Jesse found other likeminded musicians and started the band The Swing Doctors. Although the membership and location of the band has changed over the years, the band has been a mainstay of the northeast swing scene for the last decade.

Today, Jesse is more known as a featured artist than a bandleader. He can be seen in New York’s most famous jazz clubs playing solo or with his trio The Little Tramps. In addition, Jesse is a “first call” sideman for much of New York’s traditional jazz scene including: The Traditional Jazz Collective, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, Barbara Rosene, The Three Bad Pennies, Bob Leive and the Wooster Street Trolley Jazz band, Julian Yeo, Arnie Mig Orchestra, and Lew Picardi Orchestra.