New York Electric Piano began in 2003 as a classic piano trio built around the sound of the Fender Rhodes electric piano. Pianist Pat Daugherty, bassist Tim Givens, and drummer Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) met while working in the NYC music scene in the late 90ʼs. Their eponymous 2004 release cracked the top 20 of the CMJ Jazz Charts and earned critical praise. In a piece for All About Jazz, Rob Sidley noted their “simmering and blistering grooves.” During this period, the band was invited to play an after party for David Bowieʼs band. The Thin White Duke sat next to them during the gig, nodding his approval.
In 2005, Citizen Zen (Midlantic Records) and subsequent 2006 release Blues in Full Moon were also critically acclaimed. In the Jazz Times, Bill Milkowski said, “Thereʼs an incredible amount of groupthink going on here.” The band began a long residency at NYCʼs Cutting Room and their tradition of inviting dancers on stage with them began to develop (check out the “Freestyle” video).
The band expanded again in 2010 adding guitarist Teddy Kumpel (Joe Jackson band) and saxman Erik Lawrence (Levon Helm band). They began a long run at NYCʼs Zinc Bar playing to packed houses. Their 2011 double CD release Keys to the City spent a month in the top 10 of the CMJ Jazz Chart and received accolades from PopMatters, Sea of Tranquility, Jazz Times, Drumhead, and All About Jazz.
The band enjoyed success as a large ensemble until 2014 when they reverted to their original trio format with electric bassist Richard Hammond, from the Broadway show Hamilton joining the band. The next yearʼs release Black Hole In One, alternated instrumental and vocal tracks and had some far-reaching effects. The tune “Party On” was pushed by an Australian DJ and then adopted by the New Zealand rugby team All Black on their way to winning the World Cup. Lollapalooza artist Norton Wisdom did a live action painting to “Party On” (see YouTube) and the video and song were the subject of a presentation at a Climate Change conference at Penn State. The song “Who Wants to Know?” includes a verse aboutCrazy Horse. A member of his family heard the song and sent it to the family at the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest.
Most recently, New York Electric Piano began a close relationship with the Rockwood Music Hall, playing monthly gigs there. Their extended jams met with such audience approval that drummer Aaron Comess suggested they try to capture that magic on their next record, resulting in their new release State of the Art, an album of eight instrumentals that feature Daugherty playing two keyboards simultaneously, electronics, prepared piano, and guest vocals on “Mama Bear Love Army” from Daughertyʼs two young sons, Rex and Reggie. The band has headed into uncharted territory with this new music and is excited to share it. In Daughertyʼs words the album, “is a dream come true.”