Don Alberts is more than a pianist, more a piano stylist in the finest and most classical tradition of Jazz. His style is reminiscent of the dignity and panache of Duke Ellington and the eloquence of Bill Evans, yet clearly contemporary, and clearly his own. Friends: Don has shared the bandstand with some great musicians including Leroy Vinnegar, Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank, recordings with renowned bassist David Friesen, and a period as house pianist at the famous Bop City in San Francisco.
Study: A native of the San Francisco area, he attended San Jose City College as music major and studied with Thomas Ryan at San Jose State. Don has appeared in many jazz venues and major festivals throughout the Northwest and Canada including the Mount Hood Festival of Jazz in Portland, Oregon.
Influences: Don grew up in the Bay Area and learned his skills playing the San Francisco clubs in the 60's which exposed him to the challenging music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bud Powell, much of which became part of his foundation, a style rooted deeply in bebop and the blues. The romantic side of his playing comes from the influence of pianist Bill Evans. Beginning piano at the age of ten, his earliest influence was the Boogie Woogie style of Mary Lou Williams-followed later by Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines. Later it was Errol Garner, George Shearing, Nat Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, then Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, Barry Harris, Tommy Flanagan, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Clark, and Mulgrew Miller.
Early recordings: One of Don’s early compositions, The Lizard, appears on the CD album Home Coming with Tom Harrell, released in 1999 by bassist Gordon Stevens and published on Life Force Records. A second CD album on Chill House Music was released in March of 2002 entitled, Local Hero, a trio format with Oregon bassist David Friesen and drummer Alan Jones which includes material from an earlier session. This package includes some fine solo piano work and the re-introduction of three originals: Local Hero, Sarah's Theme, and Until I Met You.
Later Releases: (2003) The CD Intuition, the Don Alberts Trio, is a landmark achievement capturing the original work of the band as developed at the Cypress Club in San Francisco with Bassist Frank Passantino and drummer Buddy Barnhill. All compositions are by Don Alberts except his one homage to Bill Evans-the tune; One For Helen. The CD Intuition is available at cdbaby.com
(2005) Rejuvenation, produced by Don Mar Productions was released in August, 2005. This CD features five new compositions by Don Alberts plus two standards, Autumn Leaves and Nardis with Don Russo on bass and Diego Arencon on drums, recorded in February, 2005 at Tone Palace Studios in Taos, New Mexico. CDs available at www.cdbaby.com
(2006) Avende Miles, a work of fresh originals in a quartet setting with saxophonist Scott Barnhill and the existing trio-Frank Passantino and Buddy Barnhill in a strait ahead jazz approach to these new compositions. CDs available at cdbaby.com
(2007) Bad Boys, Russo Alberts Trio with Art Lewis, produced by Sims Road Music, includes 9 Alberts originals: Definition, Rise, One Fine Thing, Made, Bad Boys, Coy Madden, God Fire Mantra, Dare Devils, Steps, and Duke's Choice by Charles Mingus. Don Alberts-piano, Don Russo-bass, Art Lewis-drums. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/russoalbertstrio2
(2011) The release of his new trio CD "Three Chord Molly" from Fantasy Studios with Don Russo bass and Art Lewis drums is now available at cdbaby.com.
Don Alberts has received the prestigious 2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2013 ASCAP Jazz Composers Awards for his Volumes of Original Jazz Compositions the latest being Volume 13. The books, Don Alberts-Original Jazz Compositions are published by Chill House Music. Volumes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 are available at www.lulu.com/donalberts.
Don Alberts has established himself as an author with a number of books to his credit. Recent publications include: "The Rushing -Manbaby and the Crooked Road to the Big Time" (2010), a novel about a Jazz Musician's life set in the 1960's San Francisco and "A Diary of the Underdogs" a book on Jazz History in San Francisco in the 1960's with 31 interviews of local musicians. These are also available at www.lulu.com/donalberts also Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Baker and Taylor, Book Baby, Ingram and Books Inc.
Don is continues writing new material most of which becomes part of the format of any current presentations. Although he has written extensively for larger ensembles, his recent concentration is the small group, trio and quartet, where flexible improvisation and unity is the goal.
Don has also taught jazz composition at the Jazz School, now the California Jazz Conservatory, in Berkeley as well as a summer Composition Master Piano Class on Be Bop essentials.