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Daniela Schaechter at the 2006 Kennedy Center Women in Jazz Festival

Daniela Schaechter

Growing up in the lovely coastal town of Messina on the island of Sicily, Daniela Schaechter studied classical piano and began to perform jazz at age 18. Then she moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music on a Terri Lyne Carrington scholarship, named for the drummer who now teaches at Berklee.

For three semesters, Schaechter took lessons with JoAnne Brackeen, and admires Brackeen's layered rhythms, wide chords, and mindset -- always supporting new approaches. Schaechter went out west for a couple of sessions with composer Billy Childs, because she'd listened for a long time to his album The Child Within.

Now, Schaechter is beginning to reap the rewards of her studies. In 2005, she won the Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition at the Kennedy Center. The prize was this booking at the 2006 festival, at which she featured her compositions from the CD I Colori del Mare (The Colors of the Sea).

One highlight is "Fung Wa Blues," which Schaechter composed on a well-traveled bus line between Chinatown in Boston and Chinatown in New York. Music students are frequent riders. In Schaechter's day, it wasn't even a bus. It was more like a van, bouncing from pothole to pothole, but the $10 fare couldn't be beat, and inspired this rhythmic composition.

The Kennedy Center's 12th Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival is named for the original, essential jazz pianist active from the 1930s into the 1980s. This year's festival is May 10-12. 2006 Piano Competition winner, Mayuko Katakura, performs on May 11.


Daniela Schaechter, piano and voice
Alex Sipiagin, trumpet
Oleg Osenkov, bass
Terri Lyne Carrington, drums


(All music by Schaechter unless otherwise noted.)
"Dark Blue" for the color of the Mediterranean Sea
"In Crioche" meaning a crossroads for people, ideas, colors, impressions
"Quore" meaning heart
"Fung Wa Blues"
"When the Turtle Meets the Ocean"
"Stella by Starlight" (Washington, Young)
"Kogun" (Toshiko Akiyoshi)


Mary Lou Williams Festival
Daniela Schaechter

Mix by Technical Director Duke Markos with Greg Hartmann of Big Mo Recording and Chris Weal.
Thanks to Dr. Billy Taylor and the Kennedy Center staff.
Dee Dee Bridgewater's recording engineer is Ginger Bruner at KUNV Las Vegas.
Producer Becca Pulliam, Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe @ WBGO 88.3 FM in Newark NJ and wbgo dot org.

Copyright 2007 NPR