Born: May 23, 1974 Primary Instrument: Piano
“Tim Whalen is a serious improviser.” – Tom Laskin, Isthmus Newspaper
Tim Whalen is an in-demand jazz pianist / composer / arranger living in Washington D.C. His passion and dedication to his art come through in everything he touches, and he has been blessed with opportunities to write and play music with some incredible people. He has played all over the United States, Japan and Europe in many different musical situations, and has written music for everything from jazz trios to orchestras.
Tim has been blessed with opportunities to play music with some incredible people, including David “Fathead” Newman, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jon Hendricks, Vic Juris, Richard Davis, Dennis Irwin, Barry Ries, Clyde Stubblefield, Jackie Allen, Ben Sidran, Jorge Drexler, Marcus Belgrave, and Andy Martin.
Whalen is also held in high regard as a composer, arranger, and orchestrator. In 2005, he orchestrated the string arrangement for the Oscar-winning song El Otro Lado del Rio by Jorge Drexler from the film The Motorcycle Diaries. Tim has also written music for commercials, and his music for the DeJope Bingo ad campaign won an Addy award in Wisconsin. Versatility is so important these days, and he is equally at home writing music for an orchestra as he is writing for a jazz quintet. In March 2009, he premiered an orchestra commission for the Cobb Symphony in Atlanta where they played the music of The Who featuring a 5-piece rock band accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra.
In 1996, while still at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Whalen formed the funk / soul band Phat Phunktion. This amazing nine-piece band has shared the stage with some of the most legendary performers of our time including Chick Corea, Maceo Parker, Tower of Power, WAR, Taj Mahal, Rick James, The Brothers Johnson, and the Original P featuring original members of Parliament. Still going strong, Phat Phunktion released their fourth album in July 2011 to international critical acclaim.
“On You and Me, the band’s first release on a national label, producers Tim Whalen and Al Falaschi demonstrate a talent for crafting strong, danceable tracks.” – JazzTimes Magazine
Not one to stand still musically, Whalen is also very busy with numerous diverse musical projects, including the Tim Whalen Trio, the Tim Whalen Nonet, and the Tim Whalen Chamber Jazz Ensemble, which mixes classical chamber music with jazz. As musical director and chief composer and arranger for the Tim Whalen Nonet, he has formed a hard-swinging, unique band that plays with the intricacy of a big band but maintains the freedom of a small group. His first album “Magnus” has just been released to highly positive reviews.
“Whalen's nonet is now arguably Madison's most dynamic large jazz ensemble. His originals counterpoint a thickening book of provocatively arranged modern standards.” - Kevin Lynch, The Wisconsin State Journal
From 2007 to 2010, Whalen was visiting assistant professor of Jazz Piano at the University of Toledo in Ohio, where he taught jazz improvisation, jazz composition and arranging, jazz history, and private lessons in jazz piano. He also CO-directed the Jazz Vocalstra with the legendary jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks. Presently, Whalen happily calls the Washington DC area home, and is an integral part of a thriving music scene.
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.