Willie Myette is a pianist, serial entrepreneur and author of over a dozen books on piano and music education. Starting from humble beginnings, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Graduating in under 4 years, Willie began his first business, JazzKids®, a piano method that teaches children as young as six how to improvise and create their own music.
As a professional musician, Willie has toured the United States and abroad with his trio Katahdin’s Edge and other nationally recognized musical groups. As a bandleader, he produced and recorded 3 CDs which have garnered him radio play on over 90 stations nationwide along with write ups in Downbeat, JazzTimes and Jazziz. His group, Katahdin’s Edge showcased at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.
Willie is the creator and president of online piano instruction sites Jazzedge®, PianoWithWillie and HomeSchoolPiano which cater to absolute beginners at the piano to professional pianists looking to learn new skills using a unique 6-step method. Willie’s online students span the globe and his Jazzedge team supports students on every continent.
By Bill Beuttler, Globe Correspondent | July 8, 2005
Willie Myette is an adventurous sort of guy who likes doing his own thing.
Not long after graduating from Berklee College of Music with a degree in film scoring, Myette moved to Providence and launched what has become a thriving little business in jazz education, consisting of several Myette-penned textbooks and a pair of websites.
The 32-year-old Myette has also led a couple of piano trios. The first of them, called simply the Willie Myette Trio, focused on covering jazz standards. The new group, Katahdin's Edge, was assembled to concentrate on Myette's own music, which uses odd time signatures, rock and funk rhythms, and other devices to push beyond the traditional jazz trio sound.
"I wanted to start getting away from just doing the standards and doing more original music," says Myette, who will perform a free concert at Berklee's David Friend Recital Hall on Wednesday, "and thus Katahdin's Edge was born."
Named for a hike Myette took on the Knife Edge route on Maine's Mount Katahdin, the trio consists of Myette on piano, John Funkhouser on upright bass, and Mike Connors on drums. The energetic, listener-friendly progressivism of "Step Away," last year's debut album, has earned Katahdin's Edge comparisons to Medeski Martin & Wood. But Myette cites other influences as being more substantial.
The odd time signatures, he says, come from intense listening to Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, and Chris Speed's group Pachora. More significant still is the influence of two other untraditional jazz trios: the Bad Plus and EST.
"I love both those groups for different reasons," says Myette. "The Bad Plus has kind of taken rock tunes and set them in a jazz vein. They have some really interesting original tunes as well, but still, there's not as much compositionally there as, say, some of the EST tunes . . . [which are] a little bit lighter and almost folksy at times."
Myette aims to split the difference with Katahdin's Edge.