About Jamael Dean
Pianist and producer Jamael Dean is a harmonically sophisticated pianist with a bent toward expansive, boundary-pushing jazz and hip-hop. A gifted player since his teens, he emerged in the 2010s in Los Angeles, playing with Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, and his grandfather, drummer Donald Dean, before issuing his 2019 Stones Throw debut, Black Space Tapes.
Born in 1999 in Bakersfield, California, Dean was introduced to music at a young age and initially started out on violin while in the third grade. At age nine, he was given a keyboard and soon began teaching himself how to play by ear. Under the guidance of his grandfather, longtime Les McCann and Yusef Lateef drummer Donald Dean, he became interested in jazz and spent much of his adolescence mentoring and playing gigs with the elder Dean. By his teens he was attending the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and studying under such well-respected veteran pianists as Doug Davis, Bill Cunliffe, and Eric Reed. Accolades followed, including a membership in the 2014-2016 Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School Septet, winning a 2016 Dolo Coker Scholarship, and earning a spot on the 2016 Grammy Band Jazz Combo. His talent also caught the attention of players on the greater Los Angeles jazz scene, including saxophonist Kamasi Washington and bassist/singer Thundercat; both of whom took him on tour while he was still in high school. He began expanding his interests, crafting electronic beats on his computer and merging jazz, funk, and hip-hop. Following high school, he enrolled as a Jazz Performance major at the New School in New York City. In 2019, he released his debut album, the genre-bending Black Space Tapes on Stones Throw.