Beal is a composer, performer, producer, improviser. He is a consummate
musician. He writes music for film,
the concert hall, CDs and television.
This web page came about because Jeff wanted to have one place available
to his listeners. A place to unite his many pursuits. One location
where people could go to find out more about his jazz CDs, how to
rent his orchestral music, learn about film scoring or just get
in touch with him. Ive known Jeff for over twenty years, now.
Sharing a passion for music comes easily to this man, but getting
him to talk about himself or promote himself doesnt. I, however,
have no problem talking about Jeff. Let me fill you in....
Jeff was born in 1963 in Hayward, CA, the East Bay area of San Francisco.
His parents both grew up with music making in the home; naturally
music was always present in their house. His mother studied piano
as a child, and from an early age, Jeff enjoyed picking out tunes
on the familys upright piano. In the third grade, his father
took him to a school assembly where students could listen to and
select band instruments to borrow and study...(In those halcyon
days before Prop. 13) Jeff sat through the assembly quietly, until
the trumpet was demonstrated. Thats it! he told
his father. Thats what I want to play!
Jeff began practicing and improving on the trumpet. He worked a
paper route on his bicycle, mornings before school, to purchase
his own trumpet. His fathers mother Irene had performed as
a pianist on live radio broadcasts , and now lived in San Francisco.
Not your average grandma, she was an artist, bohemian and an avid
jazz fan; sitting in on Miles Live at the Black Hawk recording
sessions. She gave Jeff a copy of Sketches of Spain as a gift when
he was ten. He had never heard music like this before...Gil Evans
emotive, expressive orchestrations, combined with Miles haunting
trumpet. Jeff began to study jazz improvisation, theory, and harmony
on his own, later taking classes at a local college. He immersed
himself in jazz recordings and transcribed the solos of Woody Shaw,
Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker and Miles...eventually
writing his own jazz charts and performing them with the Monterey
Jazz All Stars. Jeff also played in the Oakland Youth Symphony,
conducted by Kent Nagano, and at 16 wrote an orchestral jazz trumpet
concerto for that group. At night after school, Jeff would ride
BART across the bay to San Francisco; sitting in at jam sessions
led by musicians twice his age... listening, playing, and learning.
Going to the Eastman School of Music was an opportunity for Jeff
to continue his trumpet studies and to formally study composition.
As an undergraduate, he took all of his double major classes, along
with the classes offered to the masters students in the jazz
department. His spare moments were spent gigging with jazz professors
and writing, writing, writing more music in the piano lab. Jeff
was known to hide under the synclavier in the computer music lab,
until the night watchman had passed, so that he could spend his
nights undisturbed, writing and producing his own music.
These synclavier demos lead to Jeffs first solo album, Liberation;
released in 1987. Now a conservatory graduate, living in New York
City and working as a gigging musician, Jeff was signed by the Antilles
division of Island Records. He played more dates with his own group,
and began working on the music for a second album, when a move to
San Francisco (for his wifes career) lead to scoring work.
Jeffs first film score, Cheap Shots, was produced in
a home studio in the tiny office of a rented home. Jeff soon was
working as a ghost writer and arranger for other composers, always
longing to be the guy with the gig and the credit.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1992 provided Jeff with more opportunities
and relationships. He continued making solo CDs, performing with
his own jazz ensemble, and also contributed compositions to friends
CD projects, like his Bass Concerto, written for John Patitucci
and recorded at the request of Chick Corea. The opportunity to create
an orchestral jazz trumpet concerto, a lifelong dream from the Sketches
of Spain days, was realized when childhood friend and conductor
Kent Nagano approached Jeff to write a piece for the Berkeley Symphony.
The end result, Alternate Route, is a signature piece for Jeff,
representing a union of his love for orchestral and improvised music.
More opportunities for scoring came about as Jeff became known around
town as the eclectic, classically trained, improvising, computer
savvy composer. His scores ran the gamut from the earthy world music
of Guy, to the ethereal music of Nothing Sacred, to
the jazz inspired score to The Passion of Ayn Rand. It was
in 2000 that Jeffs most monumental opportunity presented itself.
Jeff has heard that Ed Harris was producing, directing and starring
in a biographical film about artist Jackson Pollock, and his agent
had submitted his music for this independent film. Learning that
another composer had been selected, Jeff tried to forget about the
project, but it was difficult to dismiss. When he heard that Ed
Harris was once again looking for a composer, he tried not to get
his hopes up. What Jeff didnt know was that Ed Harris had
already fired two composers, and kept returning to Jeffs submitted
CD of cues. When Ed finally called Jeff personally to ask him to
meet on Pollock, Ed admitted he didnt know who Jeff was...he
had lost his sheet of credits, and only had that one CD. The one
CD he kept playing over and over. Jeff and Ed met and spotted Pollock
that same day. They had an instant rapport. Ed spoke later of Jeffs
immediate understanding of the film and his ability to translate
that into musical ideas. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jeff Beal now finds himself happily living the life he has always
imagined for himself. Composing music, collaborating with creative
individuals, traveling, playing trumpet, riding his bike, and living
a rather peaceful, reclusive life with his family in the rural outskirts
of Los Angeles.
We hope that you enjoy browsing this site, listening to the music
and learning more about this immensely talented individual. Please
contact Jeff with any questions or comments on the Contact page.
Thanks for visiting,