Pam Morita - Piano
Pam Morita got hit with the jazz bug as a graduate classical piano student when she heard Joe Williams sing with the Count Basie Band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The band swung so hard that it influenced Pam to pursue a career in jazz piano and voice. At that moment she knew she had to play jazz!
A professional pianist/singer in Chicago since 1980, Pam played at the Drake Hotel, Park Hyatt Hotel, the Fairmont, the Palmer House as well as well-known jazz clubs such as Andy’s and the Green Mill. In 1985 she traveled to Sweden where she played/sang in clubs around the country as well as onboard the Silja Line Cruise Boat, which sailed between Helsinki and Stockholm. In 1994, she moved to Norway where she met such Swedish jazz artists as Ronnie Gardiner and Johan Setterlind who recorded her first CD, “Strings that…” with her. In 2000, Pam moved to Phoenix primarily because her parents lived there. Since moving to the Valley, she has played in the C.C. Jones Orchestra and performed with such musicians as Dennis Rowland, Sherry Roberson, Felix Sainz, Dennis Sexton, Dom Moio, Dan Tomlinson, Bob Lashier, Paul-Eirik Melhus, Richard Palalay, Andy Gross, Ben Hedquist, Selwyn Reams, Vismaya, Alan Ames, and Adam Roberts. Pam’s repertoire consists of jazz standards, pop, originals, and classical music. She plays solo as well as with groups and does private parties, weddings, and events.
Presently, Pam teaches Jazz Piano and Jazz Chamber Ensemble at Paradise Valley Community College and teaches Group Piano at Scottsdale Community College. She is currently the Director of Nash Futures, a youth program ages 10 – 17, where they learn jazz improvisation. She has a private piano studio and is the pianist for Cross of Christ Church in Anthem, AZ.
Pam was a Nordstrom pianist for 5 years (as a soloist and with trios). She has played at the Top of the Rock Restaurant, Glendale Gaslight Inn, the Estate House, Cartwright’s, Chandler Jazz Festival, 98 South, the Phoenix Music Festival, the Borgata, the Phoenician, the Biltmore, West Valley Art Museum, Scottsdale Artwalk, Eddie V’s, Dahl & DiLuca, the AZ Union Hall, Sacred Grounds Coffee House, the Wrigley Mansion, Kazimierz, and the Kerr Cultural Center. Recently she has done Tribute shows with bands at the Nash such as “Tribute to Ella”, “The Music of Jimmy Van Heusen”, and “A Song in my Heart: the Music of Rodgers & Hart”. In 2004, she started a jazz jam session for kids where professionals and youngsters could play together. “Pam’s Jam” started at Barwinkles and ended at the Glendale Library, a span of 2 years.
Pam received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in Piano Performance. She has taught both jazz and classical piano for many years and has worked with jazz ensembles at high schools in Glendale.
Some of her favorite artists are Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Yo Yo Ma, Sting, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell, Eric Harlan, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Eigsti, Bette Midler, Chris Potter, and Kenny Barron.