BIOGRAPHY

Damian Curtis

Born into a family of music connoisseurs, Damian Curtis was trained to play the piano at a young age. Music was a major part of Curtis’ life from day one. His father’s extensive record collection, ranging from the sweet "soul"/"R&B" sounds of artists such as Marvin Gaye, "Earth, Wind and Fire" and "Sly and the Family Stone", to the classic 'salsa' grooves of the 1970s, including Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente and Ismael Miranda, would prove to have a huge influence on the young Curtis.

 

At the formative age of 4, he would embark on what has turned into a lifelong partnership with the piano. As a teenager Curtis began studying at The Artists Collective, Inc., a multidisciplinary arts education organization specializing in "The African Diaspora", which is located in the "Upper Albany" neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut, as well as Guakia, Inc., a multidisciplinary arts education organization specializing in "The Latin Diaspora", which was located in the "South End" neighborhood of the capital city. It was at these two institutions that he would begin an intensive study of both "jazz" and various forms of "Latin music", working under the tutelage of the late, great giant of the alto saxophone, Jackie McLean, along with well-known regional musicians, such as pianist and keyboardist Joe Velez, trumpeter and flugelhornist Ray Gonzalez and percussionist and vibraphonist Ed Fast.

 

Throughout high school, Damian attended The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, where he was afforded the opportunity of performing and studying with the likes of bassists Dave Santoro and Paul "PB" Brown. At the age of 19, he was invited to perform in Cuba as a member of “Latin Flavor”, a band that he had formed, along with his brothers, pianist and keyboardist Zaccai Curtis and bassist Luques Curtis.

 

Upon graduating from The Academy, Damian Curtis was awarded a full scholarship to continue his studies at the prestigious Hartt School of Music, within what at the time was known as The African-American Music Department, and that has since become The Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Divison, at The University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut, under the continued watchful eye of Jackie McLean. This mentoring became a turning point in his continued musical development and growth, as McLean not only guided the young musician, but also made him a part of his band, including in conjunction with a performance for then President of the United States, Bill Clinton. While at The Hartt School, Curtis also had an opportunity to study and perform with trombonist Steve Davis, bassist Nat Reeves and pianists Andy LaVerne, Michael Weiss and Alan Jay Palmer.

 

In an attempt to gain even more experience, Curtis also began commuting to the Harlem section of Manhattan, New York, in order to study with pianists Ronnie Matthews and Barry Harris through the legendary Jazzmobile, Inc. 

 

Today, Damian's life still revolves around his love of music. He spends his time sharing his passion with his 3 children: Madison, Myles and Mayci, while teaching piano lessons and "hip hop" production to students of all ages. In addition, Damian Curtis continues performing with numerous "jazz", "Latin Jazz" and "salsa" bands, as well as producing beats for many acclaimed "hip-hop" artists.

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Damian Curtis   |    damiancurtispiano@gmail.com   |   Windsor, CT