Kalia Vandever is a trombonist, composer, and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. She released her debut album, "In Bloom" in May, 2019 which features all of her original compositions written for quartet and duo with guitar. She has toured and performed locally in NYC with her quartet, as well as her solo project. 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. Kalia moved from Los Angeles, CA to New York City in 2013 to study at the Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies. She has thrived and grown as a creative musician, improviser, composer, and educator since being in the city. Kalia has played with the following musicians whom she admires greatly, Ingrid Jensen, Herbie Hancock, Tyshawn Sorey, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Fabian Almazan, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Joel Ross, Maria Grand, and others. She's also performed on Saturday Night Live with Demi Lovato and on Samantha Bee's Full Frontal with Lizzo. Kalia endorses Conn Selmer and Bach instruments (see Centerstage page here), as well as Denis Wick London (see artist page here).
She is also experienced as an educator, having traveled to Boston and Memphis, as a part of the Thelonious Monk Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Program; driven to inspire and motivate the younger generation of musicians. She’s also traveled to New Orleans with a group 18 students from the Juilliard School to teach at local schools, perform for the community, and build houses with Habitat for Humanity. She worked as an Academy Assistant for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Educational Program called the Middle School Jazz Academy in 2016-2017. In summer of 2017, Kalia traveled to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia to work with students in a youth orchestra. She joined faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in August 2019, teaching private trombone lessons.
In March of 2018, Kalia published an article on Medium, titled "Token Girl," discussing her experiences with misogyny and sexual harassment at The Juilliard School. Her article was mentioned in the New York Times a month later.
"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 in 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 in 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 in the NY Times
Jazz Speaks Interviews:
(August 15, 2019) http://www.jazzspeaks.org/in-bloom-kalia-vandever-speaks/
(November 6, 2017) http://www.jazzspeaks.org/songs-of-new-experience-kalia-vandever-speaks/
photograph and clothing by Liv Ryan