Sandra Locklear | Jazz Pianist, Singer, Songwriter
"Your performance last night sounded totally awesome. Articulate and passionate! You clearly love your work." ~ Chris, Microsoft
SANDRA LOCKLEAR'S sensuous jazz piano stylings and rich alto voice have made her a favorite Pacific Northwest talent. An accomplished musician with recordings and tours in the U.S. and abroad, she's a featured pianist at the Bellevue Collection on Steinway grand pianos and at the El Gaucho restaurants. Sandra plays simply solo, or performs with her top-flight combo featured on her Goddess Rising and Girl Gone Jazz CD's.
A FRESH SOUND EMERGES
SANDRA LOCKLEAR is both pianist and singer with a natural gift for connecting with her audience. She sets a fresh soulful standard refined over many years of playing venues in the Pacific Northwest and overseas, effortlessly crossing over from jazz to bossa nova, from show tunes to her own compositions, with a technical proficiency honed since she took her first piano lesson at age 7. Sandra is proud of her Ukrainian heritage and hails from Kenora, Ontario.
At age 7 Sandra began jazz and classical keyboard training with professional jazz musician and mentor Margo Beecher. Margo played Hammond B-3 organ in Ricky Ricardo’s band and was in demand in LA’s Local 47 along with colleagues Nat King Cole, Louie Prima and Keely Smith. As a child Sandra absorbed the music of Ellington, Jobim and J.S. Bach as standard fare for Margo's lessons. By middle school Sandra was performing at weddings, fashion shows and church. She went on to win Yamaha’s Young Artists NW Regional Organ Competition in high school and competed in Carmel, CA. A year studying jazz organ in San Francisco inspired Sandra to enroll in a college music program back in Washington State. She began touring Canada on the organ with a quartet. "And that's when I really started singing. The band leader stuck a microphone in front of my mouth and ordered me to sing!"
FORMAL MUSIC STUDIES
In-between performing regionally and touring overseas as a solo artist, Sandra studied jazz piano and theory at Cornish College of the Arts, and composition and music education at the University of Washington. She eventually earned two music degrees Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude juggling family responsibilities with the demands of a musical career.
At Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, NPR jazz producer/radio host Jim Wilke, bassist Gary Peacock, horn players Julian Priester and Jim Knapp, pianists Art Lande, Peggy Stern and pianist-singer Joni Metcalf, all influenced Sandra's distinctive sound and understanding of the art of jazz. At the University of Washington, clarinetist William O. Smith (Dave Brubeck band) guided her composition efforts, while Seattle jazz pianist Marc Seales honed her playing skills . Along the way, Sandra studied with piano virtuoso Jerome Gray and trained with vocal coaches George Peckham (Ann and Nancy Wilson of “Heart” and Judy Collins) and opera master Augusta Palialunga.
Eventually Sandra was compelled to break out and do her own thing. With her own sure vision she formed her record label, ThunderEye Music. In 2000 Sandra recorded her first album of original music with her band and special guests. Energetic and sensual, Sandra's finely wrought debut CD GODDESS RISING melds smooth jazz and easy-listening rock, Latin grooves and poignant solo ballads.
Executive producer Douglas Hughes met Sandra during a show in a dinner club and paved the way for her next project. On GIRL GONE JAZZ Sandra and her quartet return to her jazz roots and three more of Sandra's original songs. From playful to relaxing, listeners are treated to clean arrangements and a fresh perspective on beloved standards.
MOTHER, TRAVELER, TEACHER
While Sandra raised her children on the piano and continued to perform and compose, “Ms. Locklear” contributed over two decades of public service as a certified music specialist and arts advocate in south Seattle’s Highline School District. She taught general music, choir, world drumming and guitar to diverse immigrant and refugee student populations. Before her resignation Sandra spearheaded a successful campaign to reinstate her district's Fine Arts Director position and worked to ensure that middle school arts gaps were closed in compliance with state law.
Sandra’s passionate belief is that the arts deserve a place in the public school curriculum at every level. Published by Johns Hopkins School of Education, Sandra's 2002 research article Research-Based Justification for Highline School District Elementary and Secondary School Music Programs stresses the critical reasons for including music in public education.
INSPIRATIONS ON COMPOSITIONS
Sandra spent her formative years listening to the British rock invasion and protest music of the '60's while learning jazz and Latin standards from her music mentor. Her Scottish grandmother mastered the Royal Conservatory piano course while her other "Baba" sang Ukrainian lullabies and church chants in minor keys. Natural and indigenous sounds of the planet soothe Sandra's soul and shape her ears.
Born of experience, Sandra's original music on her albums is a stylistic mix of tender and forthright observations on life. "Our world is a rich tapestry of sound vibrations and healing frequencies," says Sandra. "I'm blessed to be able to play or sing what I feel in the moment. Everything listens!”