Inspired by a friend who lived next door, Calderazzo began his piano studies at age seven. He progressed rapidly in a house where other family members were also playing drums and singing, and at 14 became the youngest member of brother Gene Calderazzo's rock band. When the other, significantly older band members enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and switched their allegiance to jazz, Calderazzo set aside his passions for the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and began listening to Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner.
Calderazzo met Michael Brecker at a clinic, and soon the saxophonist was introducing Calderazzo to the jazz world as part of the touring Michael Brecker Quintet beginning in 1987. and on two tracks of the his 1988 album Don’t Try This at Home. Brecker produced Calderazzo’s first disc, In the Door (Blue Note, recorded 1990) and played on it along with two other tenor saxophonists whom Calderazzo had met in Boston, Jerry Bergonzi and brother Gene’s Berklee roommate Branford Marsalis.
Two more Blue Note albums, To Know One (recorded 1991) with Bergonzi and Marsalis again featured and the rhythm section completed by Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, and The Traveler (recorded 1992) featuring two different trios, while Secrets (Sledgehammer Blues (formerly AudioQuest Music), recorded 1995), took a different musical direction as Bob Belden surrounded Calderazzo’s trio with a seven-piece ensemble. The ongoing relationship with Brecker found Calderazzo contributing as composer as well as pianist on the saxophonist’s Tales from the Hudson, and as pianist, composer and co-producer on Two Blocks from the Edge. There were further encounters with Bergonzi as well, most frequently in a well-documented quintet led by bassist Bruce Gertz, and the beginning of a more active relationship with Marsalis when Calderazzo assumed one of the keyboard chairs in Marsalis’ Buckshot LeFonque, touring with the group and contributing to its second disc, Music Evolution.
When pianist Kenny Kirkland died in 1998, Calderazzo assumed his chair in the Branford Marsalis Quartet. The intense working relationship with Marsalis, which remains active to this day, called upon a new scope and maturity from the pianist that complement his own emergence. Among the recorded evidence of this period’s growth are Joey Calderazzo (Columbia, recorded 1999), his definitive trio recital to date, with John Patitucci and Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and his contributions to Marsalis’ CDs Contemporary Jazz, Footsteps of Our Fathers, Romare Bearden Revealed, Eternal and DVD Coltrane’s `A Love Supreme’ Live in Amsterdam. The latest Branford Marsalis Quartet release, Braggtown, features Calderazzo’s composition “Hope” as well as his piano.
Calderazzo’s signing as one of the first artists on Branford’s Marsalis Music label in 2002 coincided with the latest growth spurt in the pianist’s career. His growing interests in the sounds to be extracted from a piano and the entire spectrum of jazz history initially surfaced on Haiku (Marsalis Music, recorded 2002), his first all-solo disc; were in full flower during his first solo piano tour of Europe early in 2006; and define his current Marsalis Music album, Amanacer, featuring duo and trio performances with singer Claudia Acuña and guitarist Romero Lubambo as well as solo tracks.
Now a resident of Wake Forest, North Carolina, Calderazzo continues to perform as a solo pianist, at the head of a trio, and as a member of the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
In June 2011, Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo released their first duo album Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, on Branford's Marsalis Music label. Their world premiere performance was on June 29, 2011 in Koerner Hall at the 2011 TD Toronto Jazz Festival.
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