Suzanne Dean is an arranger, composer, keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist and educator.
In addition to releasing two albums on Nova Records, she worked as an orchestrator on the television series Jake and the Fatman, and has taught at Berklee College of Music since 1997. Her new EP Come to Paradise, was released in April of 2016. Recently one of Suzanne’s new songs, Ngizohamba, was nominated in the World Traditional Song category by her Independent Music Awards fans, for 2016.
Suzanne received an Associate’s Degree in music from the University of Maine in Augusta, after which she spent some years performing and was the leader of her own jazz quartet. She then attended Berklee College of Music and received a Bachelor's of Music in Film Scoring. After a move to LA, and releasing her first two albums, she attended the Master's program in music composition at California State University in Northridge, California.
Suzanne released her first album on Nova Records in 1987, entitled Dreams Come True. Her second album was released in 1991, entitled I Wonder. These albums featured some of L.A.'s finest studio musicians, such as contemporary jazz greats John Patitucci, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Peter Erskine. These recordings received worldwide distribution and continue to receive airplay in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The writing and arranging vary from acoustic jazz to fusion and incorporate orchestral elements. In addition to composing and arranging music on the albums, she also served as the keyboardist and vocalist on several of the tracks.
Suzanne’s newest CD Come to Paradise was released April 1st of this year. Once again the CD features well-known LA session musicians including saxophonist Bob Sheppard and guitarist Dean Parks. The music is eclectic but this time consists entirely of original songs for which she wrote both the music and lyrics, with the exception of one song, which was co-written. For this new CD, Suzanne features Nicole Zuraitis, a New York based vocalist versed in a multitude of styles. Suzanne adds some vocals on a few tracks and plays 8 string ukulele on the title track.
Suzanne is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in the Contemporary Writing and Production Department. She teaches Music Application and Theory, Arranging 1, Harmony 2, The Music of Laurel Canyon, Women Songwriters of the 20th Century, Artistry Creativity and Inquiry and Arranging for Songwriters. She also authored and teaches Arranging 1: Rhythm Section, for Berklee online. She has continued to write and record during her time at Berklee but welcomed her year long sabbatical to be able to record her new CD.
Bio photo by Henry Diltz