Joe Heinemann's new release Gratitude says how the artist feels about life and he then translates that in his music.
The track of choice is "Lenape." It is a beautiful dance of grace and sound. Joe's fingers are the translator and his piano is the messenger.
The soft intro pulls you in and grabs your attention. The pace is purposeful and meaningful.
"Lenape" is one example of what is in store for the listener on the new release. Lovers of instrumental, classical and new age music will find this an enjoyable piece to listen to.
Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
More About Joe Joe Heinemann:
Some music career voyages start early, some start late, but each one shares a point where the commitment to working on one's craft becomes
important. For pianist Joe Heinemann, that happened at the young age of 7, shortly after he began taking piano lessons. His mother was the only
member of the household “really into music,” and was the guiding force in his early musical development and the emergence of his performing
talent. “My mother pushed me when I was young, which was key, because I wasn’t aware of what I was developing completely. I wasn’t self-driven.
There were many small steps to feeling good about becoming a really proficient player and side-man, and that made making music more valuable as
Joe Heinemann grew up in Portland, Oregon, and studied classical piano from the age of 7 until he turned 20 (including a brief stint at the
Music Conservatory in San Francisco). His professional playing career began smack-dab in the middle of that spell, at a mere 13 years old. As a
young teen in Portland, he found himself drawn to jazz by listening to albums at friends' houses. In his twenties, he heard a Keith Jarrett
album and a light bulb went on over his head. “I was a strong solo pianist and always wanted to do that most. When George Winston appeared [on
the scene] I thought it was great that he could do concert halls with a casual appearance. I wasn’t at a point in my life to follow a similar
path to [Winston's], though.”
After his formal studies, Heinemann funneled his energy into jazz and dance music, as well as a great amount of freelancing (he would end up
playing piano and keyboards with an assortment of bands until he turned 45). For two years in the mid '80s he lived in Amsterdam, playing local
gigs and touring Europe, performing and recording, including dates with saxophonist Archie Shepp. These years represented his most intensely
focused jazz-playing period.
Moving back to the States, he launched a career as a jazz and blues keyboardist in both Portland and San Francisco, most notably touring and
recording with Charlie Musselwhite's Band. Between 1992 and 2001, Joe recorded and shared the stage with many well-known artists (e.g. Robert
Cray, Steve Miller, Bonnie Raitt, and Albert Collins, to name just a few), developing a reputation as the consummate sideman. He also fronted
his own group, releasing six recordings under his name. One of his earlier songs, "Straight Ahead," placed in the top ten in a Jazzizz magazine
national keyboardist contest. As accomplished as he had become, something was missing. “I knew in 2001 I had to leave freelancing and playing in
other people’s bands. I needed to take time to develop my music and discover my true voice. I knew it would be a long process and I had to make
a living, so I built a private piano teaching business in the Bay Area and left performing for a living to teach while I wrote and developed my
own piano repertoire. That lasted about 12 years.”
In 2012, he and his wife moved to New York City (where they currently reside) and Joe spent time “getting to know himself” as a different kind
of piano player and composer. “I fully realized I wanted to (and needed to) find a way to be a solo pianist, perform for respectful audiences on
nice pianos, express my original music in a relaxed and mature environment.” This process of discovery slowly took shape, culminating in the
artist reaching out to noted producer Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records and currently part of one of the hottest producer/engineer
tandems in music alongside Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont. It is here that Joe recorded his latest work, Gratitude. While
subtle elements of jazz can be heard on the album, “...with this music I’m doing now, melody is primary. Will stresses this and I think it’s
part of why his judgment is so valuable. I will probably revere melody more for the rest of my life because of Will’s influence.”
As Joe Heinemann continues to evolve, those first glimpses of this new direction his music would take all those years ago (with the discovery of
Jarrett and Winston) have crystallized. “This solo piano, original music, played on great pianos, with quiet listeners that want to hear you,
working with the greatest producer in the business, and an audience ready for my music, is all I really wanted since I was very young.
Ultimately, I want to leave something behind after I’m gone. The music I’m making now will allow for that.”
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