Kalia Vandever is a trombonist, composer, and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. She released her debut album, "In Bloom" in 2019 which has been described as "the rise of an exciting voice for the music" (Seton Hawkins, Hot House Jazz Magazine). Kalia's sophomore album, Regrowth released in May, 2022 on New Amsterdam Records and "confirms her strengths as a composer and bandleader with a distinctly contemporary point of view." (Nate Chinen, WBGO Jazz)
Kalia received her Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies at the Juilliard School in 2017. She has toured and performed internationally with her quartet, as well as a side-woman, performing with artists including Moses Sumney, Joel Ross, Immanuel Wilkins, Maria Grand, Fay Victor and others. Kalia is an awardee of the 2022 Next Jazz Legacy, a program founded by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.
She has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Preservation Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, The Jazz Gallery, The Blue Whale, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, SMOKE Jazz Club, the Blue Note, and the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has also performed on Saturday Night Live with Demi Lovato and on Samantha Bee's Full Frontal with Lizzo.
While performing regularly as a bandleader and side-woman, Kalia is also an active composer and arranger. She has been commissioned to write works for groups and individuals including Tesla Quartet, The Westerlies, Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim, and Hats & Heels Duo.
She is also experienced as an educator, having led masterclasses at universities including California Institute of the Arts, Cal State Northridge, Saddleback College, University of Maine Farmington, and University of Missouri. She has also led clinics for organizations including CWU Jenn, Women of Jazz and Creative Music, Women in Jazz Organization, and Live From Our Living Rooms.
Kalia endorses Conn Selmer and Bach instruments as well as Denis Wick London.
"Vandever's forthcoming album — fittingly titled Regrowth, and due out on New Amsterdam Records on May 6 — confirms her strengths as a composer and bandleader with a distinctly contemporary point of view. Consider the lead single, "Pick It Up (And Drop It Again)," which begins with electric guitar ostinato in a strobing 10/8 time, before bassist Nick Dunston and drummer Connor Parks join the fray. (The guitarist is Lee Meadvin, who produced the album.) The groove shifts to triple meter as Vandever enters to state the melody before the minute-and-a-half mark, first in a sturdy midrange and then an octave higher. Her solo nods at times toward hard-bop precursors like Curtis Fuller, but with a billowing urgency rooted in the present tense." - Nate Chinen, WBGO
"Regrowth as a whole is unsuspecting – it is as much a mystery as it is a synchronized stream of consciousness, emotion, and perspective. It is what emerges when stagnation feels imminent and creativity is daunting. It speaks the language of growth through songs like “Lift,” “Pick It Up (and Drop It Again),” and “An Unwelcome Visit.” The notes ebb and flow between the intense and the simplistic, ultimately building to a jazz-induced crescendo. This album is for anyone and everyone with main character energy." - Jasmine Ivanna Espy, I Care If You Listen
"Vandever just released her debut album, In Bloom, featuring original compositions for a quartet of her peers: pianist Theo Walentiny, bassist Nick Dunston and drummer Connor Parks. On the title track, which opens the album, Vandever employs a bass ostinato with an offbeat syncopation throughout — a simple but effective way of setting the song just slightly off its axis. Her melody features a similar rhythmic displacement, which she plays with classical precision. The solos, first by Walentiny and then Vandever, are adventurous but rooted. This is a cohort that has obviously metabolized many different approaches, and chosen its own path." - Nate Chinen, WBGO
"We might not immediately nominate the trombone as the lead melody instrument in a jazz quartet. However, In Bloom, the debut album of trombonist and composer Kalia Vandever not only makes a compelling case for the format, it also documents the rise of an exciting new voice for the music." - Seton Hawkins, Hot House Jazz Magazine
"Slow and viscous, the original music on "In Bloom," this young trombonist's debut recording moves with an unhurried, sighing attitude. She writes melodies with long, held notes, and her songs usually linger between slow and mid-tempo. The idea, seems, is to dip you into a feeling or a pattern or a breathing speed, and keep you there." - Giovanni Russonello, NY Times