Best-Selling Jazz Artist Greg Spero got his start in Frank Catalano's quintet, topping the billboards at #11 and selling over 100,000 copies on their debut release, Mighty Burner. Greg is now surging into the world with his own group, paving a new path in jazz that is exciting audiences worldwide.
Video Example (piano solo):
Video Example (original head):
"I just got done seeing Spero jam," raves Chris Devins, music connoisseur and executive producer of Hot Wax TV. "Spero was jammin'!" Spero was recently featured in the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which Devins comments showcases the best young jazz musicians from Chicago.
"Spero is fresh and exciting," adds Chicago's most prominent female Latin artist Guia Rivera. "Even people, who don't like jazz, like Spero. He's that good."
What can we expect from a musician who has three generations of Spero coursing through his bloodline? It was his father and grandfather who raised him in the tradition of true musicianship. But what we don't expect: abnormality. He's fearless to break from the established rules of music theory, truly wild in improvisational technique. Spero constantly pushes the boundaries onstage and offstage with his eccentric, signature style of playing. When you hear him experiment with jazz fusion onstage, you wonder, is this guy high or something? Think Jimi Hendrix but on a keyboard. Spero's drug of choice: coffee. He's racked up so many points on his Starbucks card, he's one junkie who just can't live without java. Fans, be aware that a fresh batch of chocolate brownies will appease the budding jazz musician.
Another question: Can one truly equate jazz musician with being sexy? Today we can. Depending on his mood, Spero decides if he wants to rock a 'fro this fashion season. The ladies love him regardless. Spero, perhaps, draws upon the Freudian instinct to procreate. He's already begun to give birth to a revolution mating hiphop, rock, and metal with avant-garde jazz. The result is his current jazz fusion album "Live in 25" available at online stores.
His credo comes from studying Jazz Piano and Composition at the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign. A proud Fighting Illini, Spero graduated with a Bachelor's in Music Composition and Jazz Performance. He further studied jazz piano with world-renowned musicians include the likes of Chip Stephens, Joan Hickey, and Chip McNeal. His most recent recording on Frank Catalano's Mighty Burner album debuted at 11 on the Jazz Billboard Charts, and after 20 weeks on the Billboards became a best-selling jazz album for 2006. He has shared the stage with countless respected musicians, including Harrison Bankhead, and Leon Joyce (of the Ramsey Lewis Trio), Frank Russell, Dede Sampio, and Robert Lee Irving III (the latter three of the Miles Davis ensembles).
This past year Spero has built a name for himself as a solo artist. Each performance is a revelation in the sporadic experiment of jazz fusion. Those hip to the music happenings in Chicago flock to Spero's performances at the House of Blues Chicago, The Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, Martyrs, Fitzgerald's among many venues. Greg Spero has toured nationally with his closest collaborators in his GMG Trio, whose most recent album was nominated as Best Jazz Album of the Year by the Chicago Music Awards.
Spero is an instrumental leader on the new scene. We're letting the world know Chicago still breeds the forerunners in jazz fusion.
Greg Spero; Piano/Rhodes/Synth. Makaya McCraven; Drums. Tim Siesser; Bass. Corey Wilkes; Trumpet. De'Sean Jones; Sax.
Greg Spero Trio; Live in 25
Radio over Miles (Greg Spero Quartet, 2010)
- Greg Spero’s first self-titled quartet album. Featuring Corey Wilkes, Makaya McCraven and Junius Paul.
GMG (GMG, 2008)
- This album was recently completed, and is being sold at GMG shows around the country. Though it has not been officially released for full distribution, it has been generating significant popularity on the underground jazz scene. It was recently nominated as Best Jazz Album of the Year by the Chicago Music Awards.
The Mighty Burner (Frank Catalano, 2006)
- This album debuted at #11 on the European Jazz Billboards, stayed on the world-wide jazz billboard charts for 22 weeks becoming a 2006 best-seller in jazz. It sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.
Live in 25 (Greg Spero Trio, 2005)
- As the trio's first fusion album, this disk received critical acclaim all around Chicago and New York.
Fossil Fuels in the House that Mouse Built (Bucket shop, 2002)
- This jazz-fusion disk gave a kick in the pants to fusion lovers around chicago, and made its way into the ever-growing jam-band scene.
Spero to end on high note
[+ Show ]
Many second-semester seniors are at a loss of what to do with themselves. Some are trying to make th...Many second-semester seniors are at a loss of what to do with themselves. Some are trying to make their last few weeks of college last by celebrating. Others are trying to organize their futures once they step off the University campus. No matter what seniors are doing, it is clear that the real world is looming and getting closer with each coming day.
For Greg Spero, senior in FAA, the real world includes a world tour with a best-selling jazz band, the Frank Catalano Quintet.
"We are touring Japan in April, France in May, and Italy in June," Spero said. "I just want to play all over, meet new people, and explore the world."
For a 22-year-old, he is doing a good job taking on the world. He has played on a best-selling jazz album, which debuted at No. 11, spent 22 weeks on the Jazz Billboard Music charts, and has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. Spero also headlines his own band, The Greg Spero Trio.
Jon Levy, freshman in LAS and friend of Spero, jokes about him and his accomplishments.
"He is a Jewish Casanova," Levy laughs. "No, really, he is a nice guy, and he deserves everything he gets. He works hard for it."
Aside from the bands he plays in, Spero also does Web design, photography and composes film scores for plays in Chicago to make a living. He said he does all of this in order to attain his dreams.
"The dream is basically to play and explore music and to channel my passions into art that I want to create," Spero said. "Also, I try not to starve while doing it. Right now, I am happy with what I'm doing."
That is the dream of every person, to find a way to use their passions in all their future plans, and for Spero, he finds ways to unite his passions.
"I find that things are interconnected," he said. "My three main passions are the visual, musical, and technological arts. You combine the three by adding the visual arts to audio, and vice versa. The thing that connects them both is technology. One of the main purposes of art is exploration, and I want to be exploratory in all my endeavors."
Frank Russell Live at the Checkerboard Lounge
[+ Show ]
After experiencing their recent successful Jazz Festival (see our review and photos here), the Hyde ...After experiencing their recent successful Jazz Festival (see our review and photos here), the Hyde Park Jazz Society has embarked upon a series of very high-profile sets at their weekly Sunday evening Checker Jazz gigs. This past Sunday was no exception, as master bassist Frank Russell brought his quintet to the Checkerboard Lounge for some Chicago-style, contemporary jazz.
The highlight of the first set was the group's rendition of “Killer Joe.” Special mention must be given to young phenom, Greg Spero on the electric keyboards. This young man really found his groove on this piece on this piece and had the relatively small, but very appreciative crowd begging for more at its conclusion. He really “walked” on the keys, displaying an arsenal of rapid-fire, fleet fingers that had all gasping for air. He played throughout the evening like a veteran beyond his years.
Greg Spero Trio
[+ Show ]
Greg Spero joined forces with three amazing musicians Friday, December 14th at the Kinetic Playgroun...Greg Spero joined forces with three amazing musicians Friday, December 14th at the Kinetic Playground.
Spero has a BA in piano and jazz composition and it shines brightly on stage. Most of the music performed were original pieces.
Hank Horton, who plays with Dennis Deyoung of Styx, was on bass laying some great rhythms.
Connor Grant from Treologic wailed on the guitar.
Mark McKnight, who has played with George Clinton, Deborah Brown and Wynton Marsalis, to name a few, threw it down on the drum kit. McKnight is currently working on his PhD in jazz drumming.
The group brought a funk-jazz fusion that kept me moving all night.
I highly recommend catching any one of these artists.
Spero will be performing this Thursday, Dec. 20th, at Schubas in Todd Carey's band.
Jean Pierre (Miles Davis)
Sly (Herbie Hancock)
Butterfly (Herbie Hancock)
Exit Music for a Film (Radiohead)
15 Step (Radiohead)
Blue in Green (Miles Davis)
People make the world go round (The Stylistics)
Yesterdays (Jerome Kern)
Originals (by Greg Spero):
So What in its right Place
Latin Fusion Blues
Off the Dome
Letting it Go
When it Happens
There are no upcoming dates at this time.