Linda Presgrave - Jazz Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Metropolitan Records Recording Artist

Linda Presgrave
Jazz Pianist, Composer, Arranger,
Metropolitan Records Recording Artist

Linda Presgrave, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, relocated to New York City in 1998 leaving a very active music career in her native city of St. Louis. Since that time she has recorded four jazz CDs as a leader on the METROPOLITAN RECORDS label. On her newest CD, INSPIRATION, Linda continues in her exploration of compositions by jazz artists “who happen to be women”. This time around she recorded once again with her favorite jazz bassist Harvie S, her producer/husband Stan Chovnick on soprano sax along with the “inspirational” drummer Allison Miller and the newest addition to the Metropolitan Records artist roster, tenor saxophonist Todd Herbert. The CD consists of six tracks of originals by Linda inspired by people, places and things plus works by Joanne Brackeen, Melba Liston, Bertha Hope and Billie Holiday. Lindahas received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. This recording has helped to bring attention not only to her pianistic abilities but also to her compositional skills.

All of Linda’s jazz recordings as a leader on Metropolitan Records include her original jazz compositions. Linda is dedicated to helping keep jazz a viable living cultural art form by composing music that is very accessible to the public. Linda’s original music is featured as well on two of the label’s compilations entitled A Jazz Christmas: That Special Time of Year and Ballads in Jazz. These two compilations feature some of the finest jazz artists on the jazz scene today.

Linda’s third recording, The Journey, serves as the beginning of her personal discovery and interest in the music of “inspirational jazz artists who happen to be women”. One of Linda’s missions is to bring attention to little known jazz works by women. The works on this CD were recorded by Linda’s working quartet along with famed jazz artists including Oliver Lake on alto saxophone and flute, Harvie S on bass and Eric Allen on drums. Her second CD, The Linda Presgrave Quartet – LIVE, is an auditory souvenir of her group’s year long engagement at the famed Warwick New York Hotel. Linda’s debut CD as a leader, In Your Eyes, was recorded shortly after she arrived in NYC and featured top jazz artists including John Stubblefield on tenor saxophone, Brian Lynch on trumpet, Harvie S and Carline Ray on bass, Cecil Brooks III and Wade Barnes on drums.

Linda has been a featured artist on the stage of the prestigious JVC Jazz Festival, New York as a part of the International Women in Jazz Festival Special Event Concert on three separate dates with her own quartet, as a member of the International Women in Jazz Ensemble and also as a member of the International Women in Jazz All-Stars.

Linda’s European performance debut grew out of one of those JVC Jazz Festival performances. She was invited to perform as the pianist and as a composer with Ritmi E Voci Dell’International Women in Jazz, New York in Frascati, Italy as a part of the festival ControCanto:Donne in Jazz sponsored by Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica. Linda was invited back to Italy to perform on the same concert series two more times with her own group, The Linda Presgrave Quartet, at Scuderie Aldobranzini (Frascati), the University of Rome (Rome) and also at Casa Internazionale delle Donne (Rome). As a result of these performances with Donne in Musica, Linda was invited to perform on the Gala Concert: A Celebration of Women in Music at the first ever World Forum on Music in Los Angeles. Her performance in Los Angeles led to another invitation – this time to perform in Europe once again as a featured jazz artist on the VI. FESTIVAL INTERNATIONALDE MUSIQUE EN CATALOGNE which took place at Place Picasso in Céret, France and an additional concert in Le Boulou, France.

Linda continues to appear on many of New York’s most prestigious jazz festivals, stages and venues with her own group and also as a member of other jazz combos and ensembles. Previous past performances include Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center , the IRIDIUM Jazz Club, the Third Annual Women in Jazz Festival at Saint Peter’s (aka as the “Jazz Church”), Sweet Rhythm, Flushing Town Hall, Cornelia Street Café, Detour and the Uptown Lounge at Minton’s to name a few. Some of the notable venues outside of New York where Linda has appeared are Jazz at the Bistro (St. Louis), Cookie’s Jazz and More (St. Louis), Just Jazz (St. Louis), Jazz at Holmes Series - Washington University (St. Louis), Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) with the Astoria Big Band and Nighttown (Cleveland, OH).

Before arriving on the New York jazz scene, Linda performed with her own group, After Six Jazz as well as with the Sessions Big Band, the Modern Vintage Jazz Quartet and the Kim Portnoy Jazz Orchestra. As a former professional French Horn player, she performed regularly at the MUNY, FOX and RIVERPORT theaters in orchestral settings behind top entertainers, world class ballet ensembles and national theatrical productions.


Quotes from Reviewers


She (Linda Presgrave) has the potential to make a major impact on the jazz world, with the highly enjoyable and creative music of Inspiration inspiring other musicians to develop their own voices.”
                    ~ Scott Yanow – Jazz author

Pianist Linda Presgrave is a talent awaiting discovery by the jazz public….Highly recommended.(INSPIRATION)
                   ~ Ken Dryden
– All Music Guide

Pianist Linda Presgrave delivers a gem of a recording proving what inspired play can produce, music that jazz audiences will enjoy and critics will rave about.”
                   ~ Edward Bianco –

A smart, tasty set that covers a lot of ground, Presgrave knows her way around the keys and delivers the goods. A nice find for piano fans on the prowl for something new that’s sure to tingle their ears.”
                  ~ Chris Spector - Midwest Record

Together this band grooves hard, listen hard and play memorable, forward thinking modern jazz.” (“Inspiration”)
~ Tom Chandler –

On THE JOURNEY : "With her lyrical playing and a stellar ensemble, Presgrave adeptly mines the secular and spiritual side of the music while paying homage to her heroines."
                 ~ Terrell Holmes - All About Jazz/New York

The main star, however, is Linda Presgrave, whose piano style is pretty original and whose five songs are worth exploring.” Recommended. *****
                ~ Scott Yanow - ALL MUSIC GUIDE

On IN YOUR EYES: "Linda Presgrave is truly a discovery who is pouring her heart into her first recording of national distribution."
                ~ Don Williamson - 52nd Street Jazz

“She (Linda Presgrave) tells beautiful stories in the music she writes”
               ~ John Stubblefield (Saxophonist)

“The St. Louis transplant Linda Presgrave, a probing, resourceful mainstream pianist with an impressive debut album, In Your Eyes, prowls the bebop landscape for all the stylistic diversity it can offer.”
              ~ The New Yorker



Inspiration – MR 1129
Ballads in Jazz - MR 1127 (Label compilation)
A Jazz Christmas: That Special Time of Year - MR 1125 (Label compilation)
The Journey – MR 1124
The Linda Presgrave Quartet - Live - MR 1123
In Your Eyes- MR 1120

As a side person:
So Many Songs About Love - DEBBIE GIFFORD: Cleveland/New York
X-mas X-ing: The Acme Brass Co
- KAMPINI RECORDS: New Jersey (KAB60298)
Last Train to Astoria - Astoria Big Band - CAROLINA RECORDS: Astoria, New York
Wash Away the Dust of Everyday Life - KIM PORTNOY JAZZ ORCHESTRA: St. Louis, MO

Major Jazz Performances (Jazz piano)

JVC JAZZ FESTIVAL, NEW YORK: New York, NY (3 IWJ Special Event Concerts)
MARY LOU WILLIAMS JAZZ FESTIVAL: Washington D.C. - Carol Sudhalter’s Astoria Jazz Band
NIGHTTOWN: Cleveland, OH
WOMEN IN JAZZ FESTIVAL (Third Annual) – Saint Peter’s Church: New York, NY
WORLD FORUM ON MUSIC: Gala Concert: A Celebration of Women in Music - Los Angeles, CA



Photo Gallery

Click on a an image for a larger view.

Interview in Rome, Italy Jazz Bar in Tokyo Linda Presgrave 2007
Linda Presgrave , 2007 Linda, Stan & Wei-Sheng  Iridium Linda, Wei-Sheng, Seiji @ The Iridium
Outside The Iridium Painting of live concert in Ceret, France The Linda Presgrave Quartet at The Warwick
The Linda Presgrave Quartet in Frascati, Italy The Linda Presgrave Quartet in Frascati, Italy The Linda Presgrave Quartet in Frascati, Italy
The Linda Presgrave Quartet in Frascati, Italy    



Press Kit

Linda Presgrave's Bio (PDF format or Word format)

Download Linda Presgrave's photo (22k)







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By Ken Dryden

Pianist Linda Presgrave is a talent awaiting discovery by the jazz public. Since moving to New York City, she has recorded several compelling CDs for the Metropolitan label, while she has the knack for uncovering overlooked gems as well as being a top-notch composer herself. With bassist Harvie S. and drummer Allison Miller providing potent support, she explores Melba Liston's tense blues "Insomnia," with Miller's solo suggesting the torment of walking the floor in the middle of the night. Presgrave's interpretation of Joanne Brackeen's "Evening in Concert" displays the composer's knack for twisting themes and her playful side as well. Harvie S. introduces Bertha Hope's strutting groove "You Know Who," an infectious hard bop vehicle that needs a lyric if it doesn't already have one. The pianist penned several compositions, including the lush ballad "One for Patricia," the sassy, breezy "Cheap Cheese" (which adds Stan Chovnick's delicious soprano sax, and the dramatic "Rome" (including Chovnick and tenor saxophonist Todd Herbert).
Highly recommended. ****

CD Review:

Linda Presgrave is an accomplished jazz musician, and her newest album, Inspiration, shows exactly that. With some songs written by herself and some by female greats such as Billie Holiday and Bertha Hope, Presgrave plays a record of tunes dedicated to women.

I don’t claim to be any sort of jazz connoisseur; in fact, I don’t really know jazz at all. But whereas I find a lot of jazz to be simply good background noise, some of Presgrave’s songs had me paying more attention. The fourth track, “Struttin’ in Manhattan,” has great drums that complement the piano and make it stand out. The sixth, Bertha Hope’s “You Know Who,” is delightfully mysterious and somewhat bluesy.

If you’re a jazz fan, you shouldn’t miss Presgrave. And if you’re not, give it a listen anyway. You might find yourself paying more attention to it than usual!

Reviewer: Alyssa Marcus

February 11, 2009

Media Alert: Linda Presgrave Inspiration (Metropolitan Records MR 1129) Street date:  February 17, 2009
Linda Presgrave – piano/arranger/composer, Harvie S – bass, Allison Miller – drums
Stan Chovnick – soprano sax (1,3,8,10), Todd Herbert – tenor sax (5,10)

CD Review:
By: Edward Blanco

In 2003 pianist and composer Linda Presgrave attended the ControCanto:Donne In Jazz concert series in Frascati, Italy specifically to perform music written by women. This essentially became the “inspiration” for her third album, The Journey and the main reason for the release of this follow up recording. All of the music on this CD is composed by women with half of the ten pieces from Presgrave herself. For those who dig contemporary and mainstream straight ahead jazz, this album is a perfect fit. The performance from Presgrave and solos from her supporting cast, will have you tapping your toes and snapping your fingers all the way through.

Joining the New York-based pianist for this very fine effort are husband Stan Chovnick on the soprano saxophone, Todd Herbert on the tenor sax, Allison Miller on the drums and the great Harvie S on bass who graces a Presgrave recording for the third time. Kicking off the program is the nine-minute Melba Liston tune “Insomnia” where the bassist and Chovnick set the stage for the pianists strong play with some outstanding performances of their own. Presgrave provides an almost classical entrance to Joanne Brackeen's “Evening In Concert” featuring Harvie S on tasteful bass line work.

The pianist's own composition “Bird of Ceret,” which she wrote while in Ceret, France, is one of the highlights of the recording featuring some terrific piano lines and expressive phrasings from husband Chovnick on the soprano. Tenor man Todd Herbert weighs in on the bluesy “Holmes for Holmes” dedicated to St. Louis trumpeter Randy Holmes. Presgrave, by the way, is originally from St. Louis. “Cheap Cheese,” the named for the poor translation of pasta ordered by band mates in Italy, features fluid piano, soprano and bass solos marking a terrific number.

Presgrave shines on the humble Billie Holiday ballad “Don't Explain” giving a serene emotional performance and ends the session with one of her own compositions, “Rome,” dedicated to the city she has visited often, turns out to be a heated burner with some fiery solos from Herbert, Chovnick and the pianist herself capping off a sizzling repertoire of music.

Pianist Linda Presgrave delivers a gem of a recording with “Inspiration” paying tribute to women of jazz, Presgrave sets the bar just a little higher20with this recording proving what inspired play can produce, music that jazz audiences will enjoy and critics will rave about.

Year: 2008
Label: Metropolitan Records
Artist Web:

Media Contact
Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services
269 S Route 94 Warwick, NY 10990
T: 845-986-1677 / F: 845-986-1699
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LINDA PRESGRAVE/Inspiration:  Not to be mistaken as a gospel record, this is a jazzbo piano lady doffing the cap to players that have inspired her jazzbo ways.  A smart, tasty set that covers a lot of ground, Presgrave knows her way around the keys and delivers the goods.  A nice find for piano fans on the prowl for something new that’s sure to tingle their ears.
1129 ~ Jan. 27, 2009 – MIDWEST RECORD – Chris Spector, Editor and Publisher

The Run Off Groove

Linda Presgrave is a pianist that I’ve never heard before, and I was almost afraid to listen to this when I saw the cover but as they say, “never judge a book by its cover”, right? I assumed it would be another ugly vocal jazz turd, I never know what to expect, and as someone who doesn’t read album biographies until after I’m done (I try not to let a bio influence my reviews, so I avoid them unless necessary), I really didn’t know what to think. I hopped in Inspiration (Metropolitan), a 10-track album and just expected for the dreck to begin. It begins with “Insomnia”, and the intro is nice. I’m hearing the rest of her band on the album (Allison Miller on drums, Todd Herbert on sax, Stan Chovnick on sax, and Harvie S on bass) and they are playing incredibly well but I’m hearing no voice. I’m waiting for it, and… nothing. I’m getting lost in the playing, especially that of the piano. I should also say that I did not know who played the piano on this just yet, I didn’t read the credits until about three minutes into the song and it was then I discovered Presgrave is not only the pianist, but an arranger and composer. While she sounds nothing like her, the first person that came to mind was Pamela Hines in terms of fluidity and space with her playing, and I looked at her and the other musicians credited: no vocals. I want to hear more.

Inspiration is the kind of album all young pianists and jazz musicians should hear in order to know what to play and how to play it. With the sax work of Chovnick and Herbert (who play on 4 and 2 of the songs respective), one senses an old John Coltrane vibe circa Ole or Black Pearls, but Presgrave is the one making sure everyone plays in the appropriate sounds, going down the path she wants the listener to go to. Her own “Struttin’ In Manhattan” sounds like a walk in NYC circa 1956, because we don’t want to see Times Square without seeing the cast of High School Musical jumping 25 stories above me, it sounds carefree and dare I say magical. I think I almost sensed a few keys from “We’re In The Money” during the song’s first minutes, but maybe that’s just me. She can easily play something that’s melancholy and somber, while other tracks are full of power and may make you want to dance, but she is someone who brings out a lot of (or puts in quite a bit of) emotion in her playing and arrangements. For a bit of blues, listen to “Don’t Explain” where she takes the song solo and if you know the song, you feel a bit of that joy and pain that Billie Holiday spoke of in her version. She ends with a song that is the epic of the album, “Rome”, where she allows the other instruments to play almost in a meditiative manner, almost as prayer before they join in as one a minute into the song. While she does it throughout the album, drummer Miller shines in this one and shows of her skills in a way that shows how she commands the drums by playing every part of her kit before maintaining things. When she adds a little extra inbetween, it feels like you’re hearing a classic jazz album from the past, this isn’t a drum machine, Sears keyboard, and a soprano sax. What I also like about it is Presgrave’s performance, which is subtle but lets the listener knows who is the boss of these sessions. Inspiration represents the things that move Presgrave to play and perform, and after hearing this, I hope she is inspired to continue her musical journey. Don’t miss this.



Featured Artist: Linda Presgrave
Album title: The Journey (MR1124)
Record Label: Metropolitan Records
Date of Release: 2006

The fine New York-based pianist Linda Presgrave performs music by a variety of top female jazz musicians on this adventurous post-bop set. In addition to her five originals, there are obscure compositions by Shirley Scott, Mary Lou Williams, Melba Liston, and Alice Coltrane plus a piece co-written by Marian McPartland and Peggy Lee and the set's only standard, Ann Ronell's "Willow Weep for Me." Utilizing two different rhythm sections, Presgrave is joined on six of the dozen selections by soprano saxophonist Stan Chovnick. Three of those numbers also have Oliver Lake on alto and flute. Lake, best known for his work in avant-garde settings, sounds quite at home in this modern mainstream set. The main star, however, is Linda Presgrave, whose piano style is pretty original and whose five songs are worth exploring. Recommended.

Featured Artist: Linda Presgrave
Album Title: In Your Eyes (MR1119)
Record Label: Metropolitan Records
Date of Release: April 11, 2000
AMG Rating ****

Linda Presgrave is an excellent hard bop pianist who made her recorded debut as a leader on this fine, straight-ahead CD. Her expressive style fits into the tradition without being derivative. Presgrave is joined by either Harvie Swartz or Carline Ray on bass, Cecil Brooks III or Wade Barnes on drums, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield (on four of the nine songs), and trumpeter Bryan Lynch on two of the Stubblefield appearances. The pianist performs five originals and four standards, including Horace Silver's "Cape Verdean Blues" and Cole Porter's "I Love You." The music is easy to enjoy, the musicianship is excellent, and overall this is an impressive debut from Presgrave, a pianist who deserves to be better-known.

Reviewed by: Scott Yanow - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Copyright © 2005 All Music Guide. All Rights Reserved.

Featured Artist: Linda Presgrave
CD Title: In Your Eyes
Year: 2000
Record Label: Metropolitan Records
Style: Straight-Ahead/Classic

Musicians: Linda Presgrave: Piano; John Stubblefield: Tenor Sax; Brian Lynch: Trumpet; Harvie Swartz: Bass; Carline Ray: Bass; Cecil Brooks III: Drums; Wade Barnes: Drums

Review: Linda Presgrave is a skilled pianist with a sense of melody and a penchant for choosing a wonderful supportive group. This recording hangs together because of the synergistic manner in which the group performs. Horace Silver's "Cape Verdean Blues" begins with a bouncy arrangement. What better way to introduce the piano chops of Linda Presgrave than through a South American influenced number. Linda cooks here with thoughtful patterns and quick thinking along the way. Drummer Cecil Brooks III compliments her playing throughout and also takes a tricky solo. This piece comes together when the rest of the band joins into take it out. Linda captures Horace's intent beautifully by swinging throughout in her smooth yet direct style. Linda's original "55th Street Rhythm" harkens back to a time when Bebop was king. This is a wonderful opportunity for the rest of the group to join in and have some fun (something which runs throughout the CD). Wes Montgomery's "So Do It" clearly shows how good of a writer he was. Known mostly for his playing, his many compositions have gone largely unnoticed over the years. It's nice to see this tune included here. Linda pays her respects to this great talent throughout. Brian Lynch (trumpet), and John Stubblefield (tenor sax) take solos before Linda's Shearing like excursion. While listening to this piece I started to think that maybe George Shearing and Ahmad Jamal were both influences on her style. Her low key version of "I Love You" bring the candles into focus, dim lighting, and oh yes, the music. Sailing though this classic as if gliding on air. This is a memorable moment. The closing number "Blues For Stan" is a silky arrangement played with skill and devotion. Stubblefield's solo is noteworthy as he takes it from a simple beginning and then begins to work things through as Linda comps gently alongside him. Throughout, one can sense that Linda has a deep love for the music and is also willing to put her stamp on it as well. Having fun as well as gaining valuable experience is evident throughout. Here's hoping that we hear more from Linda in the future.

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Reviewed by: Lee Prosser
Copyright© 2000®. All Rights Reserved.