Biography

Saxophonist, woodwind artist, and composer Laura Dreyer is a vibrant, creative voice in the New York jazz scene. Her catchy original compositions combine lyrical melodies with jazz and Brazilian rhythms, resulting in an exciting, contemporary palette of sound with a strong rhythmic twist.

Photo by Simone Marques

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Laura has headlined at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival and the Syracuse Jazz Festival. She have also performed at many of New York City’s top clubs, including the Blue Note, Cornelia St. Cafe's "New Brazilian Jazz Perspectives" series, Bean Runner Cafe, Fat Cat, Sweet Rhythm, Birdland,  Zinc Bar, and Cachaça, to name a few. A seasoned recording artist, Laura’s debut CD Mysterious Encounter (Lavasphere), is available on itunes and CDbaby. In addition, Laura produced a compilation CD entitled Sax in the City (Apria), for which the proceeds benefit breast cancer charities. Laura's 2012 release, Free Flying Bird (Piloo), can be purchased itunes and CDbaby, and she is a featured performer on Brazilian pianist Dom Salvador's newest recording, The Art of Samba Jazz. This album received a Premio da Musica Brasileira award for Best Instrumental CD.  She has also performed multiple times in Brazil with some of Rio de Janeiro's top musicians at jazz venues TribOz and Santo Scenarium. Her newest recording, Vida. Arte. Amor. (Mayimba Jazz)  was produced and recorded in Rio de Janeiro as well.

 

A multi-instrumentalist, Dreyer is in great demand as a sideperson. She has performed with noted musicians such as pianist Dom Salvador, with whom she performed in Rio de Janiero at the Copafest, Antonio Adolfo, Marcos Silva, Dr. Billy Taylor, Walter Bishop Jr., Danny Seraphine's BadAss Rockin Big Band, Mel Lewis, Robert Palmer, Nnenna Freelon, Lea DelariaLeny Andrade, Portinho, Helcio Milito, saxophonist/author James McBride, as well as many others. She has toured Cyprus with the Broadway show Five Guys Named Moe, performed in the national tour of the Duke Ellington tribute Hit Me With a Hot Note which featured Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., as well as performing in the on stage band of the award winning musical Hot and Sweet at The New York Musical Theatre Festival. Dreyer has also appeared with various ensembles at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Village Vanguard, 7th Ave. South, S.O.B.’s, the Hartford Jazz Festival, and the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Vail Jazz festival, as well as tours of Europe and Japan. Laura recently performed at The First Annual International Choro Festival in New York City, Birdland Social Club and The Sound Room in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tula's Jazz Club in Seattle, WA, Christo's in Salem, OR, An Die Musik Live in Baltimore, MD, and Twins Jazz in Washington DC.

 

Dreyer has a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Empire State College, where she received a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, and was also a scholarship student at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. Dreyer studied with noted music educators Andy McGee, Joe Viola, and John LaPorta. In addition, she took private lessons with saxophone greats Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, composers Lyle Mays and Jim McNeely, and jazz pianist Dennis Kaufman. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Laura three grants: one in performance and two in professional jazz study/composition. She participated in the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop conducted by composer/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Four of her songs have received honorable mention in Billboard Magazine's songwriting contests. Additionally, Laura was awarded two grants from The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to produce a live concert which featured The New York Brazilian Jazz Funk Project.

 

Laura was a founding member and contributing arranger for the big band DIVA. She remained with the ensemble for six years, playing both lead alto and tenor. With DIVA, she performed at Tavern on the Green, annual conferences for the International Association of Jazz Educators, New York’s famed Blue Note jazz club, The Kennedy Center, and such prestigious festivals as Newport, Montreal, Pori, and Berlin. Since Diva accompanied a wide range of solo artists, Dreyer also had wonderful opportunities to perform with major talents such as Rosemary Clooney, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Jack Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Rebecca Parris, Maurice Hines, Diane Schuur, Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, and many others.

 

Dreyer is very active as a music educator, having served on the faculties of Hoff-Barthelson Music School, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Clinics, Cazadero Music and Arts Camp, and Jazz Camp West. She is currently on the faculty of Léman Conservatory, Church St. School for Music and Art, The Brazilian Music Foundation School of Music, The New York Pops PopsEd Program, and Riverdale Country School. Laura was a featured performer and educator in Busan, South Korea at The Friends of Music in Korea Music Festival and  regularly conducts clinics and workshops at high schools and colleges which have included The California Jazz Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Portland State University, The University of Reno, Nevada, and the Jazz Improv Convention. Dreyer was a featured columnist in Saxophone Journal for five years, and has written for various other music publications including Jazz Improv Magazine, and Sax on the Web.