Artist Bio - Spencer Brewer
Spencer Brewer likes to build things. Fix things. Create things. He has tinkered and made something from nothing ever since he was a child who loved to build models and unleash his imagination across multiple disciplines. The combination of his virtuoso pianistic technique, his gifts as a melodist and his Zen approach to organic music composition provides the canvas for his music. Like all the sculpture and gorgeous piano technical work that also bears his name, it is timeless, beautiful, brilliant and is made by a man who has a lifelong commitment to quality, craftsmanship and integrity….
As a pianist, composer, and producer, he is known for his stylistically cross-pollinated classical, lyrical instrumental music. He first emerged in the early '80s with a series of albums on Narada, two of which, 1989's Dorian’s Legacy and 1991's Piper's Rhythm, hit #1 on the Top Ten on Billboard's New Age chart.
He has written for film and TV, and even drew upon his love of classic film scores for 2008's orchestral Cinematic. In 2023, he returned to his original compositions with ‘Behind the Veil’. Born in Dallas, Texas, Brewer began playing piano at age seven, learning blues and boogie-woogie from his grandmother and started improvising and writing on his own by twelve. He ultimately dropped out of college and moved to Austin, where he worked playing in clubs and restaurants during the day and gigging at night.
In the 1970s, he relocated to Columbia, Missouri, where he continued to work with various musicians and became the accompanist for several modern dance troupes, among them the companies of Deborah Hay, Daniel Llanes, and Suzanne Grace while writing two musicals in New York. In 1981, Brewer moved to Northern California, where he founded Willow Rose Records. By this time, he had developed his own distinctive approach to instrumental music, drawing upon a varied mix of influences, including jazz players like Meade Lux Lewis and Oscar Peterson, film composers Bernard Herrmann, John Barry and Elmer Bernstein, rock artists like Gentle Giant, the Beatles and Cream, as well as the French Impressionism of composers Debussy, Ravel, and Satie.
He began releasing albums, and Willow Rose was soon bought by noted independent label Narada. Among the albums Brewer issued on Narada were 1983's Where Angels Dance, 1984's Shadow Dancer, 1986's Emerald, and 1987's Portraits. Both 1989's Dorian's Legacy and 1991's Piper's Rhythm reached the Top Ten on Billboard's New Age sales chart. While 1993's Romantic Interludes marked Brewer's final full-length album for Narada, he continued to appear on dozens of collections for the label. He then collaborated with Paul McCandless for several albums, including Torches on the Lake and Summer Nights, both in 1996. Also that year, he paired with Kit Walker for Reflections on the Pond and Kostia on Piano Ocean.
Along with performing, Brewer ran his own Laughing Coyote studio near Ukiah, California, where he helmed over 200 productions for a bevy of artists, including Alex de Grassi, Holly Near, Gene Parsons, Phil Aaberg, Barbara Higbie, Paul Winter and many others.
He has composed for film and television, including Home Alone 2, Sex and the City, The Color of Fear, If These Walls Could Talk, dozens of TV shows and Thirtysomething. Brewer also wrote the theme songs for the YMCA and the Japanese Postal Service and contributed to several Olympic broadcasts. In 2008, he released Cinematic, a lush orchestral album inspired by some of his favorite film composers. His new record, Behind the Veil, arrived in January 2023. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi