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 23-year-old composer, singer-songwriter, pianist, music teacher and abstract artist based in Nederland, Colorado. Jack has a degree in music composition from the University of Colorado, Boulder. His musical interests span many genres; his mentors include Grammy nominated classical composer Carter Pann, master vocal coach Dr. Scott Martin, elite jazz keyboardist Erik Deutsch and renowned bluesman Otis Taylor. Teaching, composing and collaborating with other musicians out of his studio in Nederland, Jack is working on a wide range of musical projects and has future releases on the horizon.
Jack specializes in teaching music creativity and piano. His robust musical education and experience qualifies him to teach classical, pop, rock, blues, jazz and experimental genres. He offers both in-person (covid-19 safe) and online lessons. In addition to teaching students how to read classical sheet music, he is also passionate about incorporating improvisation, music theory, ear training and even lyric writing into his lessons.
"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 inspiring 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 curiosity 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'.
Photo by Jonathan Galle
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. In 2014, he was selected as Colorado's youth representative at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.
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.
Eight 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 pastimes is skiing.