Carmen Staaf Trio to perform at Hayner on March 30


TROY — The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center will present the Carmen Staaf Trio for the annual Jazz in March concert series on Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

Staaf is an important piano voice in New York. She is known for her improvisational straight-ahead jazz, but her vast experience and rich education allow her to draw upon influences from Afro-Cuban, Classical Indian music, West African drumming, klezmer, and other world traditions.

“Carmen’s music is lyrical, melodically driven, fluid and, at the same time, complexly orchestrated. The music almost feels like it has too many moving parts to move so liquidly and feel so free,” said Elan Mehler of Newvelle Records.

Staaf graduated from the New England Conservatory with a degree in Jazz Performance and from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, where she studied and toured with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and many other jazz masters. Hancock and Wynton Marsalis are known to be vocal fans of her music. Hancock made this statement about her work:

“Carmen Staaf is a consummate jazz pianist with equal talent in composition, orchestration and arranging. I [am] impressed by her consciousness of blending instruments and musical elements from various cultures…She very much displays a complete knowledge of the history of her instrument but more importantly Carmen is constantly reaching beyond history and is not afraid to go into the unknown and challenge herself at every moment.”

She is an active educator and has held positions at the New School, Stanford Jazz Institute, Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (Chennai, India), Jacob’s Pillow, Litchfield Jazz Camp, Western Connecticut State University and the New York Jazz Academy, and has led masterclasses around the globe.

Staaf was one of the youngest faculty members ever hired by Berklee College of Music, joining their piano department from 2005 to 2009.

The Carmen Staaf Trio is completed by Noah Garabedian on upright bass and Roberto Giaquinto on drums.

Garabedian holds a BA in Ethnomusicology from The University of California Los Angeles, and a Master of Music Performance from New York University. He is a 2022 Calouste Gulbenkian In View Grant recipient; 2021 Fellow with Creative Armenia and AGBU; 2022 and 2016 Fulbright Specialist Grant recipient; and 2011 International Society of Double Bass Competition finalist.

Italian drummer Giaquinto is currently based in New York City and is involved in a lot of projects such as the Jesse and Forever, Leandro Pellegrino Trio, Yakir Arbib Trio, Daniel Rotem Group, Mike Bono Trio, Adison Evans Quintet and Silvano Monasterios Group. He has formed the band Radio Intro with pianist Yakir Arbib, which is a duo of improvised music that also has a well-received album “Sketches on the Radio: Live in Canada.”

Encouraged by his mentor Hal Crook, Giaquinto gave life to a project in which he plays his original compositions. He recently discussed a thesis on “How to Improve Your Time, Feel and Sense of Rhythm,” for his master’s degree in jazz studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music of NYC, a program directed by Antonio Hart and with Dennis Mackrel.

The concert will include a short interview at 7 p.m. The host of this series, Keigo Hirakawa will invite Ms. Staaf to share her musical history and inspirations. This is a free concert due to the generosity of the citizens of Troy. For more about this concert and the Hayner Center events go to

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