“A masterful organist”- Don Heckman – L. A. Times
“A highly refined player with a light touch who listens” – downbeat
“An inventive pianist” – San Francisco Chronicle
Joe Bagg was born and raised in Southern California and started playing by ear on a toy xylophone at an early age. This prompted his parents to find him a piano teacher, and he studied on & off for several years. He discovered jazz while in college and immediately changed his major from computer science to music.
Upon learning that legendary jazz pianist Kenny Barron was teaching at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Joe enrolled in the graduate program there and obtained his Masters degree, studying with Barron for two years. After a couple years in the Army as a Russian linguist stationed in Germany, Joe moved back to the states to California, where he has been a fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene. In 1997, Joe started playing the Hammond B-3 organ, earning several appearances in Downbeat magazine’s Critic’s and Reader’s Polls. Recently, he was featured performing on screen in the Clint Eastwood movies J. Edgar and Jersey Boys.
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Joe has played/recorded with most of the jazz musicians in Southern California, as well as a number of visiting musicians including: Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Holman, Billy Higgins, Anthony Wilson, Charles McPherson, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Jack Sheldon, Larry Coryell, Alphonse Mouzon, Madeleine Peyroux, Pete Christlieb, Alan Ferber, Bruce Forman, Larry Koonse, Jon Gordon, Arthur Blythe, Gerry Gibbs, Eric Alexander, Ralph Moore, Brian Lynch and many others.
He has appeared in the downbeat Critic’s & Reader’s Poll in the Organ category multiple times, and he’s also played extensively overseas (Japan, Germany, France, Greece, Turkey, Dubai, Kuwait) and the States (Yoshi’s (Oakland), Birdland, Iridium, (New York), Jazz Alley & The Moore Theater (Seattle), The Aladdin Theater (Portland), Richard’s (Vancouver), Arturo’s (Detroit), Artist’s Corner (St. Paul), Anthology (San Diego) & virtually every jazz venue in Los Angeles.
Joe has taught at a number of colleges and universities over the years, currently at Musician’s Institute while also maintaining a busy gigging and recording schedule.