ABOUT JACK GAFFNEY
Having worked closely with Jack Gaffney for almost nine years I've come to understand the breadth of his talent and creativity, and the magnitude of his intuition as a musician. In the two decades of my teaching career I cannot recall another young artist who has made as distinct and true an impression on me. -Carter Pann, University of Colorado Professor and Grammy-nominated composer.
Jack Gaffney is a 21-year-old music composition student at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is also a singer-songwriter, pianist, and an abstract artist. Jack's musical interests span many genres; his mentors include Grammy nominated classical composer Carter Pann, master vocal coach Dr. Scott Martin and renowned bluesman Otis Taylor. Selected as Colorado's youth representitive at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Jack performs his unique piano-driven rock and blues songs at venues across the country.
"My dream is to inspire people with my music and to push the boundaries of what music and art can do for the world." To borrow from JFK, Jack said "it's not what music can do for me, but what I can do for music." Jack is determined to be one of the most hardworking, creative, thoughtful and captivating musicians, songwriters and composers around.
Jack began playing piano at age four, singing at eight, and writing songs at nine. For him, songwriting began as a way to sort out and process some challenging times. He wrote songs about hope and about perseverance. As Jack, his storytelling, and his songwriting matured, he began to write about love, about thrills, and about the human experience.
Inspired and heavily influenced by the band U2, Jack's songs began as pianistic, soulful, rock songs (although he imagined full arrangements in his head). After Otis Taylor guided Jack's musical curriosity towards the blues, he was hooked. "The blues is very natural for me. I was already writing songs about pushing through challenges when I saw that there is an entire genre of music that takes the spirit of hardship, sends it through the voice, and churns out pure hope and healing. The blues is a renewable resource for the mind, body, and spirit. It's truly wonderful."
At the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Jack played at several venues on Beale Street, along with some of the greatest blues performers from around the world. Jack describes the event as 'life changing from a musical perspective'.
Jack playing with Ron Miles and Otis Taylor at The Dazzle in Denver, Colorado
Jack jammin' with top national youth blues artists from around the country at BB Kings in Memphis, Tennessee
On many occasions, Jack has played keys with world-renowned blues artist Otis Taylor and his band. Jack has been a visiting artist at Otis' annual Trance Blues Festival in Boulder every year since 2011. Twice, Jack has received invitations from the Pinetop Perkins Foundation to attend their master keyboard workshop in Clarksdale, Mississippi. There he studied with piano blues masters Erwin Helfer and David Maxwell. Additionally, the great guitarist Bob Margolin, who played with Muddy Waters for years, also jammed and worked with Jack.
At the age of 12 Jack recorded his
first CD "Nothing to Be Afraid Of",
produced by Grammy nominated
composer Carter Pann. Two years
later he recorded his second CD
"Mask" at the private studio of
Michael McDonald just outside of
In April, 2011, Jack won runner up for
best songwriter at the Swallow Hill Young
Songwriters Competition. He performed his original song "Something More" while competing against teens from all over Colorado. Jack was the only middle school finalist.
Four years ago Jack was selected as "Freshman of The Year" at Boulder High School. While at BHS he also attended classes in music theory and composition at the University of Colorado. Jack has composed works for full orchestra, jazz ensembles and small chamber ensembles. One of his favorite pasttimes in the mountains of Colorado is rock climbing.