The daughter of an American Air Force officer and a Swiss mother, Eade grew up in a musical household and spent much of her childhood moving within the US and in Europe. She studied piano as a child and decided she was going to be a singer in the second grade. Eade picked up guitar as a young teenager, learning folk, pop and jazz songs and writing some of her own. She played her first gigs in the coffee houses of Stuttgart while in high school there. Later, as an English major at Vassar, Eade sang for a time with a jazz group, Naima, which also included Poughkeepsie native Joe McPhee. Eade transferred briefly to Berklee College of Music, and then finished her degree at New England Conservatory, where pianist Ran Blake became an important mentor and performing colleague. Eade stayed in Boston after graduating and soon after began teaching at NEC. She was an active performer on the vibrant Boston jazz scene in the 80's, forming groups with Boston-based artists including Mick Goodrick, Donald Brown and Bill Pierce. She also traveled in the United States and Europe as a clinician and performer. In addition to her own groups, Eade also performed contemporary classical music and was a featured soloist with Boston Musica Viva, Composers in Red Sneakers, NuClassix and jazz big bands Orange Then Blue and the Either/Orchestra. In 1987 she became the first jazz artist to be accepted into the NEC Artist Diploma program, where she studied for two years with Dave Holland and Stanley Cowell.
In 1990, Eade moved to New York City and released her first CD, The Ruby and the Pearl, featuring Alan Dawson and Stanley Cowell, for Accurate Records. During this time she maintained her teaching position at NEC, and performed in a variety of contexts including soloist roles in two Anthony Braxton operas, duo restaurant performances with Gene Bertoncini, an adventurous trio with Ben Street and Kenny Wollesen performing weekly in the East Village, and duos with Mark Helias and Peter Leitch. She played at The Village Gate, The Five Spot, Birdland, Visiones, and Cornelia Street CafÈ with groups including Larry Goldings, John Medeski, Fred Hersch, Kevin Hays, James Genus, Gregory Hutchinson, and Tom Rainey. She recorded her second CD, My Resistance is Low (Accurate), featuring fellow Brooklyn resident and frequent collaborator Bruce Barth, George Mraz, and Lewis Nash.
Just prior to returning to Boston in 1996 to begin a family, Eade was contacted by RCA's Steve Backer and signed with the label later that year. She recorded two critically acclaimed CDs for RCA Victor, When the Wind Was Cool featuring Benny Golson, Fred Hersch, James Genus, Matt Wilson, and many others, and The Long Way Home with Dave Holland and Victor Lewis, which highlighted Eade's arranging and songwriting.
Though in the midst of raising two small children, Eade toured in the United States and Europe to support the two RCA recordings. For the next couple of years, she mostly kept her efforts closer to home, focusing on composing and local Boston performances. In 2001, at the request of Columbia Records, Eade recorded a demo of her newer songs. Later, Eade began to record more original material with pianist Jed Wilson whom she met while he was a student at NEC. Eade and Wilson released a CD of duets, Open, in the fall of 2006. Eade also began to reemerge in New York, first with Ran Blake, then in duos and quartets with Jed Wilson, Ben Street, Matt Wilson, and in duo with guitarist Brad Shepik, all receiving critical recognition.
Eade currently lives near Boston with her husband, saxophonist Allan Chase, and their two sons. She has been on the faculty of New England Conservatory since 1984 and also teaches privately in New York. Her students have included Luciana Souza, Kate McGarry, Sara Lazarus, Lisa Thorson, Julie Hardy, Patrice Williamson, Kris Adams, David Devoe, Aoife O'Donovan, Roberta Gambarini, and many others.
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