Ann Tappan grew up in Montclair, New Jersey where she started playing piano at the age of four. She studied jazz composition at Berklee College of Music. She returned to the New York area to connect with the improvisational avant-garde loft scene. In 1976 Ann relocated to the Bay Are to study with ECM pianist Art Lande and became part of his experimental jazz school, first as a student then as an instructor. During her time in the Bay Area, she wrote and arranged for many live and recorded projects and performed with such giants as Eddie Henderson and Joe Henderson.
In 1993 she migrated to Montana where she quickly became a busy performer, private educator, and teacher of the award-winning Bozeman High School Jazz Combo. She was the author and administrator of a 2001 MAC/Jazz Montana grant, a year-long creative music program linking national and local professional musicians to state-wide audiences and K-12 students.
Since living in Montana she has recorded 9 CDs with the groups ThreeForm, Springhill and the Tappan/Roberti/MJ Williams Trio and Quartet. Her first solo album, Paintings was released in 2017. She has performed widely in the Northwest, including concerts at the Myrna Loy Center, Bumbershoot Arts Festival and Jazz Alley in Seattle, the Jazz Montana Festival, and opening performances for Joan Armatrading and Dave Grusin in Bozeman. She toured in Montana with NYC vocalists Roseanna Vitro, performed with David Murray in Bozeman and collaborated in Montana performances with vocalist Carola Vossen, from the Netherlands and NYC vocalist Andrea Wolper. She worked with Montana musicians MJ Williams, Kelly Roberti, Alan Fauque and Brad Edwards in tribute concerts honoring the music of jazz greats Abbey Lincoln, Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, and Wayne Shorter. Tappan toured Czech Republic 3 times with her band, Springhill, including performances at the Prague International Jazz Festival.
Ann was featured twice on the Montana PBS arts program, 11th and Grant, hosted by Eric Funk. She performed on two of the shows The Tappan/Roberti/Williams Quartet and “Christmas Favorites”. Ann appeared at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone Park for month long residencies in 2015 and 2016. She was a faculty member (along with Phil Aaberg and David Morganroth) of the Montana Jazz Piano Workshop, and Bozeman’s Camp Epic and in 2017 was Artist in Residence at Hanford High School in Richland, WA. She continues to maintain an energetic studio in Bozeman and Manhattan, dedicated to educating the young people of Montana in classical and jazz piano.
Her band ThreeForm, formed in the 1990’s, reunited in 2015 at the 1+1=1 Art Gallery in Helena, MT for a sold-out concert. She traveled to Berlin DE to establish contact with Andreas Schmidt, Berlin Jazz Institute instructor, and spent several months in 2018 and in 2019 studying and playing with local jazz musicians. 2020-2021 resulted in finding a new tool for internet rehearsing, Jamulus, with MJ William, and developing new material for a ThreeForm recording to be released in summer, 2022. She maintained her private studio 2020-2021 via Zoom lessons and conducted Zoom recitals for her students. She re-opened her studio in May 2021 and is looking forward to the first live student recital on May 15, 2022. Live performances, the backbone of life as a jazz musician, are slowly becoming available.