Emily Bear plays her piano with a finely nuanced touch, with both her comping left hand and a right hand that can cascade notes like sand pouring out of your hands. The song, her own, is a circular figure to which she discreetly adds graceful touches, such as lifting it up to a higher key and then bringing back down down again. And amidst the closely tracking standup bass and the hushed drums, she makes every note mean something.
Sounds pretty good, huh? What if I were to tell you that Emily is only 11 years old? That she first appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show at age 6 and had been back on five more times? Not impressed with Ellen’s musical tastes? Fine. What if I were to tell you that the song, and all the other songs on her upcoming release Diversity was produced by Quincy Jones? Yes, that Quincy Jones.
Born just twelve days before 9/11, Bear was playing the piano by the age of two, writing her own music at three and had her compositions published at age four. At age five she made her concert debut, playing classical, jazz and originals solo for forty minutes. At six, she performed at the White House. At seven came her orchestral debut, with a Mozart concerto. At age 8, she was performing in concerts overseas and the following year she played at Carnegie Hall, backed by a 100-piece orchestra, a 220 member choir and various soloists. Bear plays everything from memory, even classical concertos four dozen pages long.
Diversity will be her sixth CD overall, but it’s her debut with Concord Records and Quincy Jones Productions, signifying a new phase in a music career that’s already accomplished so much and yet there’s a world of potential still up ahead. The mood piece “Blue Note” is but a short glimpse into that vast potential.