Bassist, composer, vocalist, and recording engineer Emma Dayhuff was motivated to pursue the bass after being told she was too small to play the instrument. In 2005, she was awarded the Dean’s scholarship to attend the Jazz program of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Her mentors in college included Peter Dominguez, Eddie Gomez, and Billy Hart. After graduating, she moved to Chicago where she spearheaded a local funk band, played in gospel churches, toured with a bluegrass band, played in an established event band, worked in Chicago’s blues scene, and was exposed to Chicago’s avant garde jazz scene through mentor Vincent Davis, as well as work with keyboardist and composer Robert Irving III. She was honored to be one of five musicians named as a 2015 Chicago Luminarts Foundation Jazz Fellow. Her training in classical music and recording eventually led to work as the recording engineer for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Emma is the recording engineer for two releases by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “Mason Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” and “Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony”.
By 2015, Emma had grown so curious about New York that she put her life in a trailer, attached it to her Subaru, and drove 800 miles east. She began to play with Victor Goines who invited her to teach with the Horns for Havana program in Cuba. Working in Cuba was inspiring both as a musician and an educator. She studied the evolution of Cuban music from Changui to Timba, developed a passion for salsa dancing, and was pleasantly surprised by her ability to communicate with students despite language barriers. She has since given master classes at the University of Montana, Lindenwood University, the Brooklyn Scholars Charter School, KIPP Infinity School, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and was one of the organizers for the Livingston Jazz Festival which took place in November 2017. There were seven clinicians, eleven bands, and Emma arranged and composed the music for the clinician concert that closed the festival.
Living in New York, performing regularly with Victor Goines, receiving mentorship from Gerald Cannon and Ron Carter, was a process of learning musical language by immersion. The international magnetism of New York is completely unique. She has also recorded and/or played with Willie Pickens, Corey Wilkes, Victor Lewis, Larry Willis, Saul Rubin, Mary Stallings, Patricia Barber, Benito Gonzales, Willerm Delisfort, Dwight Trible, Grammy-nominated singer songwriter Matthew Santos, Duane Eubanks, Kahil El Zabar, Jumaane Taylor, and Zeshan Bagewadi among many others.
Emma is excited to be joining the class of 2020 at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles beginning in September 2018.