Performing Arts: Music
Today, people in Mendocino County know me as a jazz & Latin pianist playing with a variety of ensembles throughout Mendocino County and beyond. I moved to Mendocino County in 2002 and got inspired to develop as a jazz musician after attending a Sunday jazz jam at Headlands Coffeehouse hosted by local pianist Richard Cooper. The creativity and fun coming from the bandstand was just inspiring and so where the beautiful chords and improvised solos.
From Concert Pianist to Rock Keyboardist
In my early music career I mainly focused on classical music and studied to become a concert pianist at Cal State Long Beach, where I received a degree in piano performance. However, instead of playing piano concertos, I started working with one of the top professional cover bands in Los Angeles as a keyboardist and started touring with them throughout California and neighboring States.
In my 30s I started exploring world music and learned various percussion instruments, which lead me to being able to perform as percussionist and accompanist at colleges such as Chapman University and at the Idyllwild Jazz Festival. I was fascinated by the poly-rhythms found in Middle Eastern, African and Cuban Music and recorded several odd meter pieces in my home studio.
Jazz and classical music came back to my world when I had the opportunity to complete my student teaching for my music teaching credential with Jeff Towers, who had an award-winning high-school jazz and concert band program. After teaching band at various schools in California & Oregon, I eventually settled into a part-time teaching career at River Oak Charter School in Ukiah, where I teach band and elementary music. In addition to piano, I play trumpet, trombone, flute and drums.
Today my piano artistry shapes together classical, modern and Latin jazz with Bach harmony and counterpoint, world and poly rhythms. My diverse collection of influences and continual study of the jazz masters like Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans allow me to develop my unique voice in the jazz world. I love the improvisatory nature and creativity offered by jazz as an art form
You can see me perform at many different venues throughout the local counties but also in Sonoma County and beyond including the Headlands Coffeehouse, North Coast Brewing Co., Barra Winery, Sea Ranch Lodge, Soper Reese Theatre, etc. with a variety of ensembles including the following:
BongoLatte Latin Jazz Quartet https://www.reverbnation.com/dorianmay/song/7622527-besame-mucho
Live @ the One World Festival 2013 Mendocino– “La Bamba Descarga” https://youtu.be/FlJE9a8aFVg
Dorian May Trio and Quartet
Trio – Gualala Arts Center – “Stranger in Paradise” https://youtu.be/eAnd2va3jWs
40s Style Quartet with Jim Leonardis (sax & clarinet)
“Take the A Train” at Soper Reese https://youtu.be/0wswyQbri3U
“Mack the Knife” at Mendocino Film Festival 2015, Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation https://youtu.be/1ai71Sw-Gfo
Trio with special guest Harrison Goldberg (Sax) – Whale & Jazz Festival May 2015- “Take Five” https://youtu.be/eM0OVVVxmZA
Mad Cow Jazz (five-piece swing jazz combo with vocalist)
Dorian May’s Little Big Band (Swing & Jazz with two vocalists and 2-3 horns)
I played piano in the Mendocino College Big Band for 5 years under the direction of John Parkinson. In my newest project, Little Big Band I try to recreate the sound and feel of the classic jazz big band with less instrumentation. I create my own score and arrangements for the band. Sample shown below.
“I Love Being Here With You” http://youtu.be/acoHM3Jy9xM
“Steppin’ Out” https://youtu.be/7RET_d-9-sc
“I’m beginning to see the Light” http://youtu.be/JRoqylcfmXQ
My wife, Dorothea, is my musical partner. She shares my love for classical & world music and jazz. When moving to Mendocino County she started learning upright bass and we continue to grow and learn together as musicians and partners.
More information & music clips: