Jazz Pianist, Educator, and Hear and Play Music, Inc. Recording Artist, James Wrubel
home biography music news videos personnel press contact


James Wrubel brings an exciting blend of influence to his musical sphere. Having shared the stage with some of the world's finest Jazz, Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, African, avant-garde musicians, and Grammy winning artists, the young pianist emerges on the other side with a mature, focused, and dynamic voice. Never forgetting the piano as a percussion instrument, he brings a rhythmic force in tune with considerable technique to round out his sound.

A patient player, lover of lush harmonies, deft melodic lines, and left hand counterpoint, Wrubel focuses his energy on acknowledging the communication within the group, never content to settle into the role as "the pianist." With an open mind and eyes and ears, it is no wonder that his groups offer exciting results in reworking even the most frequently performed Jazz Standards. The knack for music admittedly came from his father, who turned down a music scholarship from The Juilliard School to pursue a career as an engineer in the aerospace sector. Undoubtedly, James’ early exposure to rigorous musical study as a Music Major at Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles helped define his musical persona. The quicker he overcame hurdles that accompany musical performance, the sooner he could let the music flow naturally. Of course, it didn't hurt that some of that training came under Alexander Treger, Concertmaster to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the young age of 15. That same summer was his first real exposure to jazz in a club setting, when he sat in with jazz luminaries in bassist Dwayne Dolphin and drummer James Johnson (of Ahmad Jamal's trio) as part of drummer Roger Humphries' weekly Tuesday jam sessions at James Street Jazz Club in Pittsburgh. (Humpries is a drummer on Horace Silver's album 'Song for my Father' now a jazz classic.)

Wrubel went on to attend Dartmouth College and played with top area musicians in the Bay Area, New England region, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and studied with pianist Liam Noble in the UK as part of an exchange with the Royal College of Music, one of the world's leading conservatories. Noble ingrained in him a freer spririt, willingness to take risks, and ability to play outside the form that have led audience members to label Wrubel's playing as whimsical on more than one occassion. "Don't play pretty," Wrubel recalls one of his fine teachers and pianist Terry Trotter professing during a lesson, acknowledging the young player's tendency to focus on "the right notes to play" theoretically. Whatever the mood, however, there is always fun to be had and Wrubel aligns his influences perfectly, and fans rate his ballad playing among his finest.

Today, he resides in the East San Francisco Bay Area. A sought-after instructor, Wrubel is a Hear and Play Music, Inc. Artist, having designed curriculum and starred in various DVD series to teach students to play piano by ear. Wrubel received a great honor in being offered the piano chair in the Glenn Miller Orchestra for the 2007-2008 World Tour, and with over 1.3 million YouTube views, the world is acknowledging Wrubel's voice is one that deserves to be heard.


Buy Hear and Play Releases

See instructional videos appropriate for beginner and intermediate players










NEW! Jazz Intensive Training Center

See more here




ChristmasKeys Jazz 4 Hour Course maximizes your ability to play Jazz-styled Christmas tunes quickly!



Jazz 101 is James' original release covering Blues Basics, licks, and tricks for 12 bar blues



Jazz 201 celebrates jazz progressions (including ii-V-Is), altered dominants, licks, bebop ideas, and much more. Over 5 hours of content!

Click Here to Inquire!


James' Upcoming 2019 Gigs

Fri, Nov 1: 7-9pm with Joseph Luna at Air Conditioned Loung in San Diego, CA

Sun, Nov 24: 6-8 pm with Joseph Luna at he Roxy in Encinitas, CA

Thurs Dec 12: 6-8pm with Joseph Luna at Bella Vista Cafe in La Jolla, CA

Fri, Dec 6: 7-9pm with Joseph Luna at Air Conditioned Loung in San Diego, CA

Sat, Dec 7: 5-9pm with Joseph Luna at Erin Hanson Gallery in San Diego, CA





"James Wrubel does a fantastic job of repeating and clearly explaining all of the material"--Jim Atwood of jimatwood.wordpress.com

"So you see, this isn't your grandfather's jazz combo...Along the Jazz Bakery's wall, mammoth oils of [jazz greats] smile out of the darkness. If casual jazz guy James Wrubel doesn't watch his back, his portrait may one day join them."--Michael Aushenker, The Palisadian-Post See more here