Cava Menzies


Bay area native Cava Menzies hails from a long line of musical talents; her grandmother, a pioneer in the New York Jazz scene as a dancer at the Cotton Club, her father, Eddie Henderson, an accomplished jazz trumpeter and early member of the Herbie Hancock sextet, and her mother a classically trained flautist and music enthusiast. Cava is a jazz pianist, composer, vocalist, and music educator who has performed throughout the Bay Area and abroad.

In 2001, Cava received a BA from the Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied jazz piano and music education. In 2008, Cava received her MM from the University of Miami where she studied composition and music production and recording.  

Cava’s musical talents extend from collaborations with various Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, and Latin artists to film documentaries. Her portfolio includes work with her Bossa Nova Duo, CAVALISA, with longtime friend and collaborator, Lisa Forkish.  Cava's piano and vocal work has been featured on albums for Bay Area artists Zion I, Crown City Rockers, and Latin group Quijerema. She recently scored two short films, "Oakland Originals", that premiered at the Oakland Film Festival and the Grand Lake Theatre.

Cava released an album in 2014, "Moment to Moment" with trumpeter  and Concord Music record producer, Nick Phillips.  "Moment to Moment" received 4 stars from Downbeat magazine and national acclaim.  Cava has performed at Yoshis Oakland, Yoshis SF, the 57th St. Gallery, 1400 Fillmore, the Oakland Museum, The Den at the Fox, the Cadillac Hotel SF, Piedmont Piano Co., and for both KCSM and KPFA radio stations. 

Cava is the Artistic Director at the Oakland School for the Arts (OSA). She is also a founding faculty member at the school and has shared her passion for music with thousands of young budding artists.  In 2013, Cava became the Program Director for OSA's Diversity and Recruitment Program, "Step It Up", which offers free arts education to Oakland students in 5th - 8th grade. Through her work at OSA, Cava has led four concert tours to Italy, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans.  As well, Cava's directing and arranging work have been featured at Levi's Stadium with the Chris Martin and Coldplay, on the Fox Theatre with Daveed Diggs and Rafa Casal, at the Bill Graham auditorium with Kehlani, at Stern Grove with The Stone Foxes, at the Inauguration of California Governor Jerry Brown in Sacramento, at the Oakland Raiders Games, Warriors games, SF Giants games, and for President Barack Obama's visit to the Fox Theatre, Oakland in July 2012.  

Cava is a 2014 National Artist Teaching Fellow and traveled to New Orleans, LA to study Jazz piano and vocal history.  In 2016 and 2017, she began teaching for Berklee College of Music's weeklong music intensive programs in LA and Puerto Rico.  Cava is a quarterfinalist for the 2018 Grammy Music Educator Awards.

In March 2018, Cava founded and launched her brand COLORQUEEN, a multidisciplinary platform which highlights her paintings, photography, musical work, and travel blog. For more info on COLORQUEEN, please visit: