Santisi is internationally recognized by musicians in the know, especially piano players and the many Grammy winners whove studied with him at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he has taught music theory and piano technique for over 50 years while touring the world and playing local Massachusetts venues. Whether working with an instrumentalist or a vocalist, Santisi's mission is the same: seek, find and play your own voice. He is quick to wave away compliments to his own mastery yet dogged in his praise of hard-working musicians studying and struggling to find their own unique sound and polish it to a gleaming shine. He is disdainful of imitation and relentless in the pursuit of creativity. Listening to Santisi, one hears the melding with the ensemble on stage, the support and compliment to every chord change and melody. He is a team player as a sideman and a leader when a music director. Whether you are a professional in the music industry or hearing jazz for the first time, you can not help but be struck by Santisi's skill and dexterity. His fingers land with a lightness and dance across the keys as he shares the music in his heart. You see it in his concentration and feel it in the sound that delights your ears.
Santisi recently published Berklee Jazz Piano through Hal Leonard Publishers and available on-line through Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and Tower Books. The description: Play jazz piano with new facility and expression as Ray Santisi, one of the most revered educators at the Berklee College of Music. Mentor to Keith Jarrett, Diana Krall, Joe Zawinul, John Hicks, Alan Broadbent, Makoto Ozone, Hiromi Uehara and thousands of others--reveals the pedagogy at the core of Berklee's jazz piano curriculum. From beginning through advanced levels, Berklee Jazz Piano maps the school's curriculum.
A frequent visitor to the audience includes revered jazz reviewer Stu Vandermark who has this to say about Santisi's playing: Ray Santisi grabbed Dave Zox and Bob Savine to replace the regulars and two very interesting things happened. The three instrumentalists do not play with each other regularly, but they are all reliable veterans. And so we had the fine experience of hearing very good music during the first set and the group really came together during the second set. Thats what real pros can do. The other interesting development was the clinic that Ray put on. I'm not a piano player but even in my ignorance I found myself shaking my head in amazement. No doubt any piano player in the audience would have been inspired-or perhaps frightened into giving up the instrument. It was a master indulging in the sheer joy of tackling the possibilities (maybe the impossibilities of the instrument. --CADENCE Magazine
The December 27th brunch is not to be missed. The Ray Santisi Trio includes Santisi at the piano, with Dave Zox, bass and Gary Fieldman, drums.
Ryles Jazz Club is located at 212 Hampshire Street in Inman Square, Cambridge. The Club is family friendly, wheelchair accessible, all major credit cards accepted and there are, two complimentary parking lots marked S&S.