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Eliot Gattegno

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 8, 1956). American classical and jazz pianist and composer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Caine began playing piano at the age of seven. At age 12 he commenced studies with French jazz pianist Bernard Peiffer. He later studied composition with ...

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Richard Wang and Brad Linde

(b Pittsburgh, PA, July 2, 1930). American jazz pianist and composer. He studied with the singer mary cardwell Dawson and the pianist james Miller in Pittsburgh where he began playing professionally at the age of 11. After attending Westinghouse High School, he left in the late 1940s to join the George Hudson Orchestra. In ...

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Bill Dobbins

(b Jamaica, Dec 2, 1931; d Toronto, ON, April 12, 1971). American jazz pianist. His family moved to the United States when he was four years old and settled in Brooklyn. As a youth he played professionally in rhythm-and-blues bands. By fusing earthy blues elements with those of the bop style as exemplified by Bud Powell, he developed a highly accessible and personal approach to jazz piano playing which influenced many subsequent performers. After working with the saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and the singer Dinah Washington, Kelly gained attention as a soloist while performing with Lester Young and Dizzy Gillespie. He continued to work for Washington and Gillespie in the mid-1950s and also played with Benny Carter and Charles Mingus. Although he frequently led his own trio from ...

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Russ Musto

(b New York, NY, March 24, 1938). American jazz pianist and composer. A pianist with a distinctive voice, he started classical piano lessons at five and at 17 began studies with Madame Chaloff in Boston, where he led a trio and accompanied such visiting greats as Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker, and Vic Dickenson. After graduating from Harvard University in ...

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W. Anthony Sheppard

(b Ft. Scott, KS, Nov 13, 1890; d Hollywood, CA, May 10, 1957). American composer, songwriter, jazz arranger, and pianist. Lapham attended Washington University and Juilliard. Initially, he was active as a silent film organist and conductor, a musical director for Broadway revues, and an arranger for such figures as Irving Berlin and Paul Whiteman. He also served as an arranger for several Hollywood studios and published a book on scoring for dance orchestras. He appears to have been the first pianist to perform George Gershwin’s ...

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Michael Conklin

(b Chicago, IL, May 27, 1935). American pianist and composer. His earliest exposure to jazz was as a child listening with his father to recordings of Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, and Meade “Lux” Lewis. At 15 he joined a jazz band that included fellow church musicians, the bass player Eldee Young and the drummer Redd Holt. He went on to study music at Chicago Musical College and De Paul University. In ...

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Richard Crawford

(b Woonsocket, RI, May 30, 1930; d State College, PA, Oct 18, 2008). American jazz pianist. He took piano lessons as a child, but learned to play jazz chiefly from listening to the radio and recordings. At the age of 12 he began to play with pickup groups at weddings and other events, and at 15 joined the musicians’ union. By ...

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Marc Rice

(b Muskogee, OK, Jan 12, 1916; d Kansas City, MO, Dec 7, 2006). American jazz and blues pianist and bandleader. He was self-taught and learned by listening to other players and radio broadcasts, in particular, those of the Earl Hines Orchestra. He briefly attended the Tuskegee Institute, but left around ...

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William Kirk Bares

(b Jacksonville, FL, Aug 23, 1970). American jazz pianist and composer. An avid classical and jazz pianist from an early age, he starred in Hartford’s Hall High School jazz band, won the Berklee College of Music’s Best All-Around Musician award, and studied at the New School in New York and with Kenny Werner, ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 5, 1957). American jazz pianist and composer. She studied music at the Cornish Institute in Seattle under Art Lande and gary Peacock . She moved to the East Coast in 1982 and eventually setted in New York, where she studied with such luminaries as ...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In ...

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Lars Helgert

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Jan 19, 1931). American pianist. He began piano study at the age of eight as a therapeutic device to counteract the effects of polio, which he had contracted at age five. He developed his own technique that accommodated the permanent partial paralysis of his right hand. Briefly a law student at the University of Pittsburgh, Parlan established himself on that city’s jazz scene in the early 1950s. In ...

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Brad Linde

(b New York, NY, May 29, 1928). American jazz pianist and composer. He began playing piano and composing while in the army in 1946. Largely self-taught, he was inspired by the music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and counted Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk as influences. Beginning in ...

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William Kirk Bares

(b Jacksonville, FL, Aug 7, 1963). American pianist and composer. Blind since age five, Roberts was exposed from an early age to gospel music before taking up jazz in his teens. He studied classical piano at Florida State University and won the Great American Piano Competition in ...

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Jeffrey Holmes

(b Oakland, CA, March 19, 1953). American pianist and composer. Before moving to New York in 1978, she studied with Ed Kelly, explored Cuban and Haitian folklore, and performed with Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, and her own ensembles in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received an NEA grant to form New Yor-Uba, a 14-piece big-band ensemble that debuted in late ...

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Daniel John Carroll

(b Regina, SK, March 24, 1962). Canadian jazz pianist. She began studying classical piano at the age of three and jazz piano during her high school years. In 1986 she moved to New York and a few years later began playing with Wayne Shorter and J.J. Johnson. She has performed with numerous others, including Jon Faddis, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and James Moody, and released many albums as a leader, including ...

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Matthew Alan Thomas

(b New Brunswick, NJ). American guitarist and composer. He began his musical career in the 1970s as a copyist for Leroy Jenkins and played in Archie Shepp’s large ensemble. In the 1980s he formed his own trio with the violinist Terry Jenoure and the drummer Kamal Sabir, played with the TenRenRen quartet, and performed as a sideman for many other groups. While working as Cassandra Wilson’s music director (...

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Luca Cerchiari

(b Spokane, WA, Aug 19, 1918; d Burbank, CA, May 28, 1996). American pianist and singer. A refined keyboard player and an occasional vocalist, he possessed a style that in some ways recalled Cole Porter’s. Initially self-taught, Rowles then studied at Gonzaga University in Spokane. His professional career began in the 1940s in California, where he performed with Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Ben Webster, Woody Herman, and Dexter Gordon, among others. The following decade he spent more time accompanying singers, including Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Mel Tormé, and such instrumental soloists as Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, and Ray Brown. He recorded as a leader for Liberty, Pacific Jazz, Clef, and Verve and also worked as a studio musician for film and television. His later years included additional performing, touring (with Ella Fitzgerald), festival performances, and recording for Atlantic and Columbia, among other labels. One of his best known compositions, “The Peacocks,” has been covered by many interpreters and was featured in the film ...

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Stuart Isacoff

(b Havana, Cuba, May 27, 1963). Cuban pianist. He has been known for his powerhouse technique, although he has been criticized at times for using it with too little restraint. Born into a musical family, he took up piano and drums at an early age. He began classical piano lessons at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory at age nine and then moved to the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, before eventually graduating from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana in ...

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Bruce Boyd Raeburn

(b Careening Cay, nr Bocas del Toro, Gran Colombia [now Panama], Aug 6, 1902; d New York, NY, Dec 11, 1963). American jazz bandleader, arranger, and pianist. His father taught music, and Russell was a teenaged multi-instrumentalist before replacing a theater pianist caused him to concentrate on piano. He learned about jazz by performing for American servicemen in the Panama Canal Zone. After his family won a lottery in ...