Darren keeps musically active leading his own Jazz Quartet, working on several recording projects, & as a session player/collaborator. He's performed with many notable International Jazz Artists such as Iain Ballamy(UK), Bobby Shew(USA), Tom Warrington(USA), Dick DeGraf(Holland), William Parker(USA), Jamie Oehlers(AUS), & Nationally Renowned Recording Artists such as Julia Deans, LA Mitchell, Mark Vanilla, Whirimako Black. Darren is featured on many albums by artists including Sacha Vee, Julia Deans, Shapeshifter, Departure Lounge, Sumo Jazz, Pacific Heights.
Pianist / Keyboardist / Composer / Educator
Darren Pickering initially got drawn to music in his early teens through an interest in keyboards & synths. Performing his first professional gig at the tender age of 13, he continued to explore music through various rock/pop/funk bands.
His interest in the acoustic piano, & discovering jazz pianists Kenny Kirkland & Bill Evans led him into the jazz field, where he maintains a busy musical life along with continued involvement in the rock/pop/funk genres. Darren loves the creativity, communication, & self-expression that music (& music creation) of any genre inherently involves. Darren is in demand as a session keyboardist & pianist for live performances, tours, & recordings, with many credits to his name. His current projects include working on a jazz quartet album & a jazz solo album involving many of his original compositions, and is a member of funk band ‘Oval Office’. He is also writing a book on Jazz Improvisation.
Darren currently teaches Jazz Piano, Contemporary Keyboards, Improvisation 2 & 3, Contemporary Performance 2, Capstone 3 Project, & Performance Forum. He is also the Artistic Director/ Manager of the ‘OneMonday Concert Series’. Darren was an integral part of the current BMusArts Degree development.
Darren’s performing & teaching experience is vast. He has taught at schools in London UK & Cairo Egypt for many years, as well as the 13yrs at CPIT. He has performed gigs internationally (North America, UK, Egypt) including Jazz Festivals in Cyprus & Lebanon. Darren continues to be a regular performer at Jazz Festivals throughout NZ.
Some of the notable musicians he has performed and toured with include International Jazz Artists Gordon Brisker(USA), Dick De Graf(Holland), William Parker(USA), Raed Yassin(Lebanon), Bobby Shew(USA), Iain Ballamy(UK), Tom Warrington(USA); Jamie Oehlers(AUS) and Nationally Renowned Recording Artists Julia Deans, LA Mitchell, Mark Vanilau, Whirimako Black – also the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra on several occasions.
Darren’s keyboard/piano playing & compositions/songwriting also feature on numerous studio albums – artists such as Julia Deans, Departure Lounge, Sacha Vee, Shapeshifter, Pacific Heights, Oval Office, Mundi, The Tiny Lies, Oakley Grenell, Glen Wagstaff BigBand, & Sumo Jazz (‘Throwing Salt’ finalist 2011 NZ Music Awards – best jazz album).
Darren studied jazz at CPIT & holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree.