Geoff Eales (born March 13, 1951) is a Welsh jazz pianist, improviser and composer.
Born in Aberbargoed in the south Wales valleys, Eales began his musical education at the age of eight, in the late 1950s. His father Horace, pianist in a well-known local dance band, taught him to play the 12-bar blues. He was also introduced to piano masters Erroll Garner, George Shearing and Oscar Peterson, as well as Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
Eales also underwent a more conventional musical education while a pupil at Lewis School, Pengam, learning classical piano and the French horn. He played the latter with the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and, in 1968, with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. He achieved a B.Mus (first-class honours) and a master's degree at Cardiff University and in 1980 was awarded a Ph.D for his large scale orchestral work "An American Symphony" and a setting of Dylan Thomas' poem "In the Beginning" for tenor, horn and piano. He also wrote a thesis entitled "Structure in the Symphonic Works of Aaron Copland".
Throughout his long career Geoff Eales has worked with pop stars, rock legends, country and blues singers, opera divas and artists from the world of musical theatre as well as vocalists and instrumentalists from the jazz world. He has played on countless soundtracks, TV shows and jingles, been a featured soloist with symphony orchestras and has composed a symphony, a piano concerto, A Sussex Rhapsody ( the latter commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra ) and numerous chamber works.
Early in his career he cruised the world on a Greek liner. During this period he spent a great amount of time in New Orleans where he played with many American jazzmen such as Buddy Tate, Jimmy McPartland, Earl Warren and Major Holley. He then moved to London, where he joined Joe Loss's band. The following year he became the pianist in the BBC Big Band, where he remained for over four years.
For the next 15 years Eales worked with a vast array of conductors, composers and singers including Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Goldsmith, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rosemary Clooney, Adelaide Hall, Tammy Wynette, Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Kiri Te Kanawa and José Carreras.
By the end of the 1990s he felt the need to return to jazz, since when he has performed at some of the world's leading jazz clubs, among them the Blue Note Clubs in Osaka and Fukuoka, New York's Birdland, The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, Louisville's Jazz Factory and London's Ronnie Scott's, and at many major jazz festivals including Zagreb, Belgrade, Cork, Brecon and Edinburgh.
His work has met with critical acclaim, such as:,
-- ".... as original as they come, listening to everyone but beholden to no single influence; Eales demands your attention with the force of his musical personality and keeps it with his musicianship"
-- "Geoff Eales is unique. When you talk to him one word comes up over and over, eclectic. Eclectic is a word he uses to describe some of his influences, for example Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. It also accurately describes, not only Geoff's playing, but also his life.....any performance by Geoff will refer to the varied influences and experiences of his life so far : a splendid synthesis of all that he knows from Messiaen through Henry Mancini to Bill Evans."
Jazz critic Dave Gelly, writing in The Observer in 2005, referred to him as "phenomenally accomplished".