Born: May 19, 1955 Primary Instrument: Piano
Composer and pianist Geoff Stradling started piano lessons at age six - his mother being his first teacher. By 13 had run through the piano instructors in his hometown - Bellingham Washington, and began a biweekly trip to Seattle to study at The Cornish School, where coincidentally his maternal grandmother had taught years before.
Passionate about music Geoff founded a big band as a freshman in high school and wrote for it for 4 years. By the time he was a sophomore in college he had won a national composition contest sponsored by the National (now International) Association of Jazz Educators.
At age twenty he moved to Europe, and soaked in the European experience - food, wine, melody. Melody! This was so different from America. In his homeland the emphasis was on harmony and rhythm, here melody was king. This would get into his soul and become a part of his life. And, a part of his music.
In 1984 Geoff moved to Los Angeles. LA. brought work in every corner of the music business, and exposure to many styles. Already a fan in Latin music, and Latin jazz in particular, Geoff would hone his skills in this style and in many others. He would perform with Quincy Jones and Mel Torme; record with (and arrange for) Ernestine Anderson on her grammy nominated CD “Blues, Dues & Love News”. He wrote for television, movies, and little by little drifted away from playing, finally quitting piano, to focus on his composing and arranging.
There was a problem. Composers spend all day locked in a room alone. This was acceptable for a while, but after five years he needed interaction and the creative outlet of playing again. “Music is meant to be made with and shared with others.” It took a couple of years and a new piano, now he is back.
Turning 50 in 2005 the emphasis turned to performing his own music. He had worked most of his playing career as a sideman, but now it was time to do his own thing. “If not now, when?” became the rallying cry, and Geoff recorded his first CD of his own. “Les Is ‘Mo”. Drawing on all of his experiences the music is full of passion, style, flavor and yes, melody!