Pianist and composer Danny Green has garnered a reputation in the jazz community as an emerging artist whose music sounds simultaneously seasoned and fresh. Showcasing a brilliant blend of jazz, Brazilian, Latin, and classical elements, Green’s music engages listeners with evocative melodies and infectious rhythms. According to JazzReview.com, “Danny Green is what evolution in jazz is all about, expressing the traits of those that came before him, with a style and panache that is all his own…an individual who expresses what is inside of him.”
A Southern California native, Green began studying classical piano at the age of five. His passion for music was apparent early on — his parents had to pull him away from the piano at his first recital. As they tugged him by his right hand, he continued playing with his left hand. At the age of twelve, Green grew disenchanted with reading music and quit lessons. He taught himself to play by ear and spent the next two years only playing Nirvana. Toward the end of high school, he fell in love with Afro Cuban music, which led to his discovery of Brazilian music and eventually jazz.
Green resumed his formal training at UC San Diego, where he studied jazz piano with Grammy-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta and classical piano with John Mark Harris and Luciane Cardassi. He performed the first jazz honors recital at UCSD and received the Jimmy Cheatham Jazz Award. Green continued his education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at San Diego State University, where he studied jazz piano with Rick Helzer. He was awarded several scholarships and named “Outstanding Graduate.” In 2013, Green was honored as an “Alumni to Watch” from SDSU’s School of Music and Dance.
Hailed as “one of the important up-and-comers on the scene today” by All About Jazz, Green is one of the most prolific and talented jazz pianists in the San Diego area. Maintaining a busy performance schedule as leader of the Danny Green Trio, Green has performed at notable venues, series, and festivals across the county, including the The Shapeshifter Lab (NYC), Anthology/The Music Box (San Diego), The Blue Whale (LA), Vibrato Jazz Grill (LA), Cafe Pink House (Saratoga), The Blue Note (NYC), The Loft @ UCSD, Steamer’s Jazz Club (Fullerton), KSDS Jazz 88.3’s Jazz Live, the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, CSU Summer Arts Monterey, the Integrity Jazz festival in North Dakota, TEDxUCSD, and the KSDS Jazz 88.3 Ocean Beach Jazz Festival. He has also been chosen to be a resident artist in the San Diego Museum of Art’s Summer Residency Project.
Green revealed his unique talents on his 2009 debut recording With You In Mind, which won “Best Jazz Album” at the 2009 San Diego Music Awards. In 2012, Green teamed up with Tapestry Records to release A Thousand Ways Home, featuring Justin Grinnell on bass, Julien Cantelm on drums, and Tripp Sprague on sax, as well as a talented cast of guest artists inducing guitarists Chico Pinheiro, Peter Sprague, and Dusty Brough, Brazilian vocalist Claudia Villela, and mandolinist Eva Scow. That album was voted into KSDS Jazz 88.3’s “Top Ten Jazz Releases of 2012,” and was nominated “Best Jazz Album” at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards.
In 2014, the Danny Green Trio, comprised of Green, Grinnell, and Cantelm, released the highly-acclaimed album After The Calm on OA2 Records. Featuring ten of Green’s compositions, the album received much praise from the press and nationwide radio play. JazzWax described the album as “A highly impressive album that will knock you out,” and the San Diego Troubadour called it, “Unconditionally recommended to anyone who appreciates good jazz, instrumental music or soundtracks.” After The Calm won “Best Jazz Album” at the 2015 San Diego Music Awards and was nominated for “Album of the Year.”
The trio recorded their 2016 release, Altered Narratives, at New York City’s famed Sear Sound recording studio with award-winning producer Matt Pierson. Released on OA2 Records, the album consists of eleven original compositions by Green. The three tunes at the center of the album feature the trio with a string quartet led by violinist Antoine Silverman, a widely admired New York classical and studio player. All About Jazz critic Dan McClenaghan commented, “There’s nothing that adds a touch of elegance to a jazz set more than an adeptly-done string arrangement, and these are superb; violins, viola and cello in a sinuous, sometimes whispering embrace with a vibrant, top-notch piano trio, delving into Danny Green’s distinguished compositions.”
Green is also highly devoted to music education. In addition to teaching private lessons, he is a faculty member of the annual Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop, directs the jazz combo at Coronado School of the Arts, and presents a jazz appreciation workshop at elementary schools as part of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library’s outreach program. Green has also taught piano courses at Grossmont Community College and San Diego City College, and has been an artist in residence at Canyon Crest Academy and at CSU Summer Arts Monterey.