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. Cava is a classically trained jazz pianist, culminating a total of 20 years of formal study.
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 is a member of the bossa nova and standards duo CAVALISA which is comprised of Cava Menzies (Piano, Vocals) and Lisa Forkish (Lead Vocals). The music of CAVALISA is infused with lilting vocal harmonies, lush chordal textures, lyrical chordal textures, lyrical piano melodies, and a rich palette of percussion and drums. CAVALISA draws on the romance and beauty of bossa novice infused jazz and classic standards.
Cava's musical talents extend from collaborations with various Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz and Latin artists to film documentaries. Her portfolio includes work with film company Jog9 productions, with credits on the award winning film "Soundz of Spirit" soundtrack, and music and original film score for Alameda County's 2006 multi-media campaign. As well, Cava's piano and vocal work has been featured on albums for Bay Area artists Zion I, Crown City Rockers, and Latin group Quijerema.
In 2007, Cava released a self produced project entitled "Give n Let Go". The record combined contemporary styles with an underlying Hip Hop edge. Cava's sultry voice and versatile instrumentation and production are highlighted. Guest stars include Zion from the Bay Area Hip Hop duo Zion I, and South African MC, D.U.S.T.
Cava remains a founding faculty member and teacher at the Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) where she chairs the Vocal Music Department. Through her work at OSA, Cava has led three concert tours to Italy, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans. As well, Cava's music directing and arranging work has been featured at the Inauguration of California Governor Jerry Brown, at the Oakland Raiders Games, Warriors games, SF Giants games, for Gap Inc., for Clorox Co., and for celebrities Sean Penn and Robert Downey Jr.
Cava continues to play, sing, arrange, produce, and record while she works on her next album with CAVALISA.