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.
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, Blue Note Napa, The Montavilla Jazz Festival, The Syracuse Jazz Festival, and at many other festivals and jazz venues both nationally and internationally. A seasoned recording artist, Laura’s has produced four CDs as a leader including Mysterious Encounter (Lavasphere), Sax in the City (Apria), Free Flying Bird (Piloo), and her newest recording Vida. Arte. Amor. (Mayimba Jazz), which was recorded in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a featured performer on Brazilian pianist Dom Salvador’s newest recording, The Art of Samba Jazz, which received a Premio da Musica Brasileira award for Best Instrumental CD. As a multi-instrumentalist, Dreyer is in great demand as a sideperson. She has performed with noted musicians such as pianist Dom Salvador, Antonio Adolfo, Paula Morelenbaum, Marcos Silva, Dr. Billy Taylor, Walter Bishop Jr., Danny Seraphine’s BadAss Rockin Big Band, Mel Lewis, Robert Palmer, Nnenna Freelon, Lea Delaria, Leny Andrade, Portinho, Helcio Milito, saxophonist/author James McBride, and Mark Levine, as well as many others.
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, Joe Lovano, and Hal Stein, 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 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, Church St. School for Music and Art, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Clinics, Cazadero Music and Arts Camp, Jazz Camp West, and Leman Conservatory. 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.