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Tim Brey - UNWRAP

Tim Brey - unwrap Cover

UNWRAP is a holiday CD from Philadelphia-based pianist and educator, Tim Brey. This contemporary keyboard colossus, demonstrates mercurial speed as a soloist, a sophisticated and complementary touch as an accompanist, as well as a keen sense of wonder and a boundless thirst for exploration as a leader and collaborator. Brey has been an integral participant in the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series, which is a collaboration between the Philadelphia Jazz Project and the Free Library of Philadelphia. As part of that series, Brey serves as a member of the Mysterious Traveler All Stars and has worked as music director for a special concert with the ensemble.


Tim Brey - 2

Tim Brey is an in-demand jazz pianist whose extensive knowledge of the bebop tradition, as well as his forays into jazz fusion, hip-hop, and house music have led him to a diverse career as a bandleader, sideman, and solo pianist. His eclectic performances evidence Brey’s commitment to keeping jazz fresh and relevant in a constantly evolving, modern musical climate. Brey has performed with Terell Stafford, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Veronica Swift, Peter Bernstein, Sean Jones, Warren Wolf, Rodney Whitaker, Steve Wilson, Eric Alexander and many more. In addition to performing, he is a dedicated educator, holding positions as Artist-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty at Temple University and The University of the Arts, where he teaches jazz piano, music theory, and improvisation.


Recently PJP had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Brey about UNWRAP and his other work.


Tim Brey - 3PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction on this CD project?

Tim Brey: "UNWRAP" is unapologetically a jazz record; improvisation, conversation, re-interpretation and all. But it's obviously a Christmas record too, and I tried to sincerely capture that spirit without compromising musicality for commercial appeal. One of the first jazz records I ever owned and fell in love with was Vince Guaraldi's, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Beyond loving the songs themselves and the time of year, the record stuck with me because of how it struck this balance, and I tried to do the same thing here. There’s a long history of jazz musicians reinventing Christmas and holiday music, and some of my favorite musicians today continue to release takes on these classics. We hear these songs on the radio growing up, and they have a real nostalgia that appeals to musicians and non-musicians alike.

PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?


Tim Brey: John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner have hugely influenced the way I hear and feel music, and the way I try to approach the piano and the ensemble. There's an earthiness, urgency, and spirituality in their playing that makes me want to push myself in any performance context, or recording for that matter. Pianists like Mulgrew Miller, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and Red Garland have also been hugely influential in my approach to trio playing and solo piano.


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PJP: Who performs on this project with you?


Tim Brey: The Tim Brey Trio features Byron Landham on drums, Brian Howell on bass and of course, myself on piano. We were working together as a trio quite a bit, when we recorded these tunes. Musically, we had developed a chemistry and I think that comes through here.



PJP: If folks want to find out more about your CD, or to purchase it, how might they do that?


Tim Brey: Check out my WEBSITE and follow me on INSTAGRAM and BANDCAMP. I post anytime I have a concert coming up, or I am releasing new music. In celebration of the five year anniversary of "UNWRAP" I just released a solo piano take on "Home for the Holidays," and I'm finishing up an album of standards and originals that I'll be releasing soon as well. 


You can purchase a digital download of UNWRAP on BANDCAMP. You can also purchase physical copies by, emailing me at


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Tim Brey: I semi-jokingly say that piano is one of the only things I'm halfway decent at doing. Playing jazz lets me be creative, conversational, spontaneous, playful, thoughtful, critical. But more important than any of that, this music is a powerful force for good. This has been a difficult year for so many of us, but music has been a real place of solace. I hope this album uplifts and offers some beauty and hope.


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You can keep up with Tim Brey's creative activities by checking him out on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, BANDCAMP or via his WEBSITE.



Find Tim Brey's work on these FREE Philadelphia Jazz Project Mixtapes:       MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER MIXTAPE #2  &  MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER MIXTAPE #1



Tim Brey's - UNWRAP is available now as a digital download on BANDCAMP and on CD by emailing Brey directly at





Check Out Tim Brey In Action In These Videos:






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Philadelphia Jazz Project, which is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.



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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.