Dave Peck started moving towards jazz during his first year in high school with his first love, the trumpet. The defining moment which led to a jazz career came when, as a 14-year-old, he heard Miles Davis' recordings from the Blackhawk which belonged to his girlfriend's father. His determination to become a trumpet player was sidetracked by two events. The first was braces, the second a summer jazz camp where he met Marian McPartland. From then on he migrated to the piano. Peck's professional career began in 1970 with a gig at the local country club. Over the years he has performed with many first-rank jazz artists, including Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt, and Lee Konitz. He has had an especially fruitful relationship with Bud Shank, who recorded Tales of the Pilot, an album devoted entirely to Peck's compositions. Peck's writing skills have resulted in recognition by ASCAP and Meet the Composer. In 1998 Trio, his debut release as leader was voted Earshot Magazine's Jazz Northwest Recording of the Year. His 3 and 1 was in the Gavin Jazz Top Ten and again was voted Earshot Jazz Northwest Recording of the Year in 2000. Given the large number of good jazz performers residing in the Pacific Northwest, this award is a meaningful recognition of Peck's skills. Since then, Peck released two other albums as a leader. All of his releases as a leader were on the Let's Play Stella label, which belonged to him and his wife Jane Peck.
Peck's piano style reveals the influence of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Wynton Kelly whose ideas he has blended with a unique approach to the piano which can be heard to excellent advantage on his Solo album. His ability to improvise and play variations on the theme without disassociating from the music he's interpreting is truly illuminating and special.
In addition to performing and composing, Peck is Associate Professor of Music at Cornish College of the Arts where he teaches Jazz Ensemble, Composition, Repertoire, Improvisation and Piano. Two of his students are starting to make names for themselves. Guitarist Brad Chepik plays with Dave Douglas and sax player Brigan Kraus is making some waves in New York's Knitting Factor loft scene. When Peck has time he likes to listen to Jarrett, the classical composer Alexander Scriaban, and Italian operas. ~ Dave Nathan