Versatile guitarist Paul Pieper brings technical and improvisational prowess to every song he plays. As a jazz musician he's toured the world, performing across upwards of twenty countries from Japan to Turkey and from Iceland to Ecuador. Grounded in the melodic traditions of post-Coltrane jazz and the pioneering influence of John Scofield, Paul's distinctive voice shines through his performances and compositions.
Paul's discography reflects his versatility. He has appeared on dozens of CDs while his compositions Something Blue, Spider Monkey, Pense?es, Kineticism, and The Red and the Black have been recorded by numerous artists. His quartet record, Making Time, features primarily original compositions and explores his personal and uncompromising take on modern jazz. His classic jazz record Standards honors the timeless roots of bop while showcasing his multi instrumental performances on guitar, bass, drums, piano and saxophone. His solo acoustic guitar record, Stories of Before, beautifully showcases his ability with a unique blend of jazz and pop compositions all filtered through the rich timbre of steel and nylon string guitars, while his "fluidly stinging" solos on D.C. luminary Buck Hill's Relax firmly cement his place in the leading ranks of 21st century jazz guitar.
Paul first caught the attention of the music community in 1995 when he captured second place from over 200 competitors at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Guitar Competition, a global event whose judges included Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Pat Martino. A D.C. area native, Paul first picked up the guitar at the age of 13. From the start Paul was a determined student of music. "I didn't just want to play-- I wanted to become fully competent on the instrument." When it came to continuing his education, Paul ultimately chose to master his craft through performing rather than school--he was earning a living playing
music at the age of 19. "I learned an enormous amount through private studies with D.C. area guitar teacher Mike Bevan--he provided me with a strong foundation--but it was through performing that I really gained the skills I needed to earn a living as a musician. I've been lucky to work with a lot of great musicians who were very open about what they know."
A sought after session player, composer, and arranger in the Washington D.C.- Baltimore area, in addition to headlining his own groups Paul appears regularly with pianist Tim Whalen, and saxophonists Tedd Baker and Peter Fraize. Since 2014 Paul has performed periodically with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops, celebrating the scores of Disney - Pixar and Dreamworks movies, and America’s musical heroes ranging from Steve Martin and Audra McDonald to the legacy of Judy Garland. In 2019 he was featured when the NSO Pops performed the score of Disney Pixar’s guitar-forward animated film, Coco.
Though he is best known for his work as a jazz musician, Paul seeks to explore all genres of music. "Regardless of style or genre, there are a few things that I really love about music: harmony, a great groove, and improvisation. If one or all of those things are present, then I'm happy."