Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • "Sands is skilled, soulful, and melodic." VICE Noisey

Christian Sands

7:30 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Christian Sands, who grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, was a piano prodigy at age 4 and started playing professionally at 10. A protégé of the late jazz pianist and educator Billy Taylor, Sands earned two degrees at the Manhattan School of Music. A former member of bassist Christian McBride’s band, Sands has performed worldwide at jazz festivals, clubs, and theatres. 

“If there’s an overarching motif to Sands’ career to this point,” a DownBeat writer points out, “it’s his ability to astound listeners when they first hear him.” 

Be Water, his third album for Mack Avenue Music Group, was released in 2020. On the expressionistic recording, the pianist-composer finds inspiration in water’s tranquility and power and muses on the possibilities offered by echoing its fluidity and malleability.” 

“This might well be the best album yet by Christian Sands,” writes a reviewer for Jazz Journal. “His releases under his own name seem to have been gathering momentum, and here on Be Water it sounds almost as though he set out to make a great album, full stop, rather than a jazz album per se, but I’d say it’s both.”

“Be Water II,” a track from the album, is nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Instrumental Composition category. The award winners are scheduled to be announced in March.

This recorded concert focuses on music from Be Water. Sands is joined in the performance by bassist Yasushi Nakamura, drummer Ryan Sands (Christian’s younger brother), and guitarist Marvin Sewell.

Christian Sands and Nakamura appeared at Eisenhower Auditorium in 2019 as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, for which the pianist was also the music director. 

Watch the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 17. It will be available for streaming until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 24. 


How to Watch

The performance will be streamed on this page for free. When streaming becomes available, a "Watch" button will appear. 

The program run time is approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes.


2020–2021 Up Close and Virtual season sponsors


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