Paul Milesi, the piano and jazz have
always been at the center of it all. He began playing professionally
while still in high school, and has since appeared in venues ranging
from casual clubs to elegant embassies.
received his earliest musical training and exposure to jazz in
his hometown of Syracuse, New York. He began his piano studies
with Eleanor Audlin and Mary Cross. Later, during high school,
he delved into jazz with John Whitney, Mickey Cieply, Phil Klein
and Frank Puzzullo, and at age 17 played his first "gig"
with a quartet at Carmen's Restaurant.
went on to major in Jazz and Studio Music at the University of
Miami, studying piano with Vince Maggio and earning a Bachelor
of Music degree in 1976. It was while studying with Vince
that Paul first became interested in the mechanical and tonal
workings of the piano.
graduation, Paul moved to North Carolina, where as a visiting
instructor he directed the jazz ensembles and taught a history
of jazz course at Duke University while leading his own groups
in the Research Triangle area.
piano is to me ... myself, my speech, my life."
Paul left Duke to begin a masters program
at the Eastman School of Music. But within a year he abandoned
Eastman and moved to New York City, where he spent three years
studying live performances of the City's leading pianists, and
playing in Manhattan restaurants and at jam sessions in many of
the jazz lofts.
1982, Paul moved to Washington, DC to attend Georgetown University
Law Center. Although he has never practiced law, he holds
the Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown and is a member of the
in law school, Paul appeared with a trio six nights a week at
the J.W. Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington. Subsequent
DC engagements have included City Club of Washington; the Georgetown
Inn; the Bombay Club; the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Willard
Inter-Continental, and Hay-Adams hotels; several embassies; the
Vice President's Residence; and many Washington area nightclubs,
including Takoma Station, Les Nieces, Murph's, and Twins Lounge.
addition to his full schedule as a pianist, Paul was for several
years during the 1990s the artistic director and frequent producer
for Washington DC's Twins Lounge jazz club. From 1994 through
1998, he was also Secretary and Treasurer of Finas Sound Productions,
Inc., a New York City jazz production company. And from
1998 through 2000, Paul served as artist representative for internationally-renowned
pianist James Williams.
continues to perform, but is currently focused on piano technology,
devoting himself to improving the condition of pianos in his community,
particularly those often neglected in public venues. He is a Registered
Piano Technician (RPT) Member of the Piano Technicians Guild.
than his formal musical education, Paul attributes his love of
Jazz and his natural affinity for the music to the many opportunites
he has had over the years to hear and associate with truly great,
generous musicians -- mostly in intimate club, but occasionally
in concert, settings.
his high school and college years, Paul
was significantly impacted by the live performances of such influential
players as Monty Alexander, Ray Bryant, Tyree Glenn, Earl "Fatha'"
Hines, Marian and Jimmy McPartland, Red Richards, Norman Simmons,
Buddy Tate, Bobby Timmons and Teddy Wilson, all of whom appeared
regularly at the Dinkler Motor Inn, a favorite Syracuse nightspot.
On one occasion,
Paul's parents took him to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center,
where he was lucky enough to hear the Duke Ellington Orchestra
in concert with many of its star players, including Johnny Hodges,
Cootie Williams and Harry Carney. Afterwards, Paul met Duke in
his dressing room, and received an impromptu backstage lesson
from organist Wild Bill Davis.
And while in college
in Miami, a similar evening found Paul catching the Count Basie
Band at the Playboy Club, hearing historical figures like Freddie
Green on guitar, and hanging out with drummer Sonny Payne. Later,
living in New York, Paul was exposed nightly to an array of artists
including Cedar Walton, Roland Hanna, Big Nick Nicholas, Harold
Mabern, Jr., the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band, Herbie Hancock, Sam
Jones, and countless others.