After graduating from the New England Conservatory in 2005, Zaccai Curtis moved to New York City where he is connected with and regularly performs with artists such as Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Lakecia Benjamin, Ray Vega, and Chico Freeman, amongst others.
Curtis composes and arranges for his own quartet and trio. In 2003, and each year consecutively through 2006, he was chosen as a winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s competition. Zaccai and his quartet were selected by the U.S. State Department to be in the American Music Abroad (Jazz Ambassadors) program two times in 2006. They performed in Bangladesh, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In 2007 Zaccai Curtis was awarded the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Artist Fellowship for Original Composition. In 2017 Curtis became a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant recipient.
When Zaccai is not busy being a sideman, he performs his own music with his group Zaccai Curtis Afro-Cuban Jazz Quartet. He has had five successful releases and plans on releasing Cubop Lives Vol 1 & 2 soon, as well as a separate project that features the great Craig Handy on tenor Sax. Zaccai Curtis currently teaches at the University of Hartford in the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division under the direction of Javon Jackson, as well as at Williams College in MA.
Zaccai, along with his brother Luques Curtis, has developed a recording collective (TRRcollective) of musicians that produce music and release it together. He is also proud to have produced a GRAMMY-nominated album (Entre Colegas by Andy González 2016) released on his label. Zaccai has created the first ever music news app developed for record labels, artists and venues, The Riff: Music News, which is available for free on iTunes and android. His book “The Art of the Guajeo” edited by John Santos is scheduled to be released in 2021.