Hickey remains one of the most appealing and distinctive pianists in the city...(she) produces gorgeously singing lines and unexpected harmonies. The gentility of her touch is matched by the intellectual accomplishment of her improvisation.
Joan Hickey teaches and performs as a freelance artist in the Chicago area. Professor Hickey has been recording and leading her own groups (trio, quartet. sextet) since 1980, as well as accompanying vocalists. She has performed in such venues as The Jazz Showcase, The Green Mill, Pete Miller's and the Chicago Jazz Festival. Cab Calloway, Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Nat Adderly, Von Freeman and Buster Williams are among the artists Professor Hickey has worked with. She has toured in Italy, Sweden, and Denmark with the Jazz Members Big Band. She has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts grants, an Illinois Arts Council grant in music composition, and her quintet was a finalist in the Hennessy Jazz Competition. Her latest compact disc, Soulmates was nominated for best jazz CD at the Chicago Music Awards. Lloyd Sachs wrote in the Chicago Sun Times, "Pianist Joan Hickey's Soulmates, featuring renowned bassist Buster Williams, is as notable for her songwriting and arranging skills as her keyboard chops. A vibrant harmonic glow informs her jazz and pop classics and originals." In addition to private lessons, Professor Hickey has taught at Verhoog Music Institute, jazz vocal camps, ISYM, Midwest Young Artist Jazz camp and University of Arkansas music camps.