Greg Spero

Greg Spero's Biography

Greg Spero, pianist / composer and at 30 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 today.

In 2015, Spero began playing keyboards for "Halsey", touring sold-out 15,000-person opening for Imagine Dragons. They are now on the US "Badlands" tour, which sold out within two days of release. In 2016, Spero will be touring Australia, Japan, UK, Europe, and South America with Halsey.

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 brought 2013 to a close as one of the candidates on the Grammy Awards ballot for Best New Artist.  Spero has just come back from the world tour promoting his new 2014 release, "Electric", and is now on tour with electro-pop artist "Halsey".

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."

Spero 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 four 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 with the most recent release - Acoustic (2011) featuring 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.

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.

In addition to his musical work, Spero works closely with charity organizations including the Suzuki Orff School of Music in Chicago, and Foster Care Counts in Los Angeles, organizing fundraisers and assisting with initiatives around the US.

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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Greg Spero