Gary Negbaur's ankles bear the symbols of New Orleans and New York, and he keeps a foot in each musical world while touring worldwide performing the music of the '20s to today. This pianist/singer/songwriter has grooved at the Superdome in New Orleans, knocked them out at Birdland in NYC and raised the roof at South by Southwest in Austin. In Paris, he brought the audience to its feet at the legendary Le Bilboquet. He tours as a soloist, with the Gary Negbaur Group and in Jazz, Blues & Two Tattoos, a show that explores the music of New Orleans and New York. His innovative arrangements of standards and soulful originals make for unforgettable performances.
A "witty songwriter" (Austin Chronicle) with a "jazzy croon" (St. Louis Post Dispatch) who can "control the black and whites like...Captain Kirk manning the Enterprise" (The Tennessean), his recordings include original rock music (Let me explain), solo jazz standards (Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat) and children’s songs (Max’s Family Band). His latest recording (Alive in New Orleans) was recorded live at Café Istanbul in New Orleans and features New Orleans classic.
In addition to performing, Negbaur writes music and libretti for theater. He co-wrote Wine Lovers, the world’s first interactive wine-tasting musical. It’s being performed across the U.S. and on Norwegian Cruise Line. Librarians in Love (co-written with Tony-nominee John Cariani) ran at the NYC Fringe Festival. Negbaur, Cariani and playwright Suzanne Bradbeer are expanding this one-act into a full-length musical.
Negbaur’s music has been used on film and TV. He contributed to the score of the feature film An American Summer, and wrote the theme for Cancerland, a reality TV show about breast cancer survivors. His song, Red Pontiac, was featured on NPR's legendary "Car Talk," and singers often perform and record his music.
Gary studied at Harvard University (where he received the David McCord Prize for unusual creative talent and a Magna Cum Laude B.A.) and the Berklee College of Music (where he was a merit scholarship recipient). He tries to put all that to good use.
What They’re Saying About Gary Negbaur
“Alive in New Orleans is lots of fun. (Negbaur serves) up standards and witty originals alike...Playful explorations of trad-jazz and boogie-woogie.”
-Offbeat Magazine (New Orleans)
“Negbaur can control the black and whites like...Captain Kirk manning the Enterprise...Negbaur's timing is phenomenal...
each touch of the keys comes as the right moment...Negbaur's willing to try deserves credit. His ability to succeed garners even more.”
-The Tennessean (Nashville, TN)
“Negbaur is a witty songwriter and pianist and a suave vocalist.”
-The Austin Chronicle
“Gary Negbaur is a pianist/singer/songwriter whose lyric-driven, groove-oriented tunes are infused with a breezy style that appeals to popsters, folkies and jazz fans alike.”
-Daily Herald (Chicago, IL)
Gary Negbaur, Alive in New Orleans
Robert Fontenot, Offbeat
Gary Negbaur comes from the piano tradition, but it’s not necessarily the NOLA one—he’s a Berklee-trained, classically jazz-based New York singer-songwriter, and his traditions run more towards Cole Porter and George Gershwin than Fess and James Booker. Yet here he is at Cafe Istanbul, serving up standards and witty originals alike while exploring the Crescent City jazz roots in his Tin Pan Alley approach. As such, you get versions of both “St. James Infirmary” and Toussaint’s “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues),” both “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Basin Street Blues,” a jump-blues take on Willie’s “Whiskey River” and “You Are My Sunshine” delivered with a heavy nod to Brother Ray Charles.
As for his originals, they’re playful explorations of trad-jazz and boogie-woogie...“Piety or Desire” is not about streetcar stops, and “Eat at Home” is not about food; songs like “Even the Ugly Ones Are Pretty” sum up that strange mix of freedom and regret that defines the local party scene... it’s lots of fun anyway: Like drinking and dating, you gotta pick your battles.
What’s Happening in the Clubs
Jeff Pearlman, The Tennessean
Gary Negbaur is a pianist who is bringing his black and white skills to Windows on the Cumberland Monday night and Pub of Love Tuesday. Simply put, Negbaur is the guy who within a year could be up there in the national spotlight with Harry Connick Jr performing his smooth, sometimes passionate piano-based love songs. Pay special attention to his version of ‘Purple Haze,’ a most triumphant cover of the Hendrix classic.”
Jack Neely, Metro Pulse
Gary Negbaur’s almost too modest to pass for a New Yorker - and a Harvard graduate at that. His live shows have earned extravagant raves from Chicago to Austin. Negbaur’s pleased with the fuss, but chalks it up to ‘the hospitality factor’ that he thinks Americans habitually extend to a performer from New York.
Gary Negbaur’s Piano
Don’t look for anyone smashing equipment, taking off their clothes or stage diving. It’s not Gary Negbaur’s style. “I can’t say I’ll mosh with the best of them,” says the pianist/singer/songwriter with a chuckle.
Musician’s Breezy Style Refuses to be Categorized
Barbara Vitello, Daily Herald
Gary Negbaur is used to being cast as a jazzman. In fact, he doesn’t really mind the label and - after studying with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Ellis Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. - it’s a title he can claim. But that’s not how he sees himself.
Reviews: Gary Negbaur, Let me explain (Crazy Bird Productions)
Robert H. Rufa, Mountain Express
Gary Negbaur is an educated jazz pianist/singer/composer - his resume lists Harvard U. and the Berklee C. of Music and master classes with Harry Connick Jr., Ellis Marsalis and Billy Taylor. But forget about comparisons to Connick - or for that matter, to Tony Bennett, whose casual, swinging vocal style may have mildly influenced Negbaur in the womb. Negbaur is a gifted guy, and he would have found a way to shine even without electricity, never mind master classes.