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Giordano Montecchi

(b Milan, Oct 22, 1929; d Parma, Italy, July 29, 2014). Italian composer, pianist, and conductor. Having studied the piano from a young age, he began to appear at the age of 13 as a conductor and orchestral pianist specializing in light music, and in jazz groups. After the war, while establishing himself as a jazz musician, he completed his studies of the piano, composition, and conducting at the Milan Conservatory (with, among others, Renzo Bossi, Antonino Votto, and Giulini) and at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena (with Paul Van Kempen). Active for many years as a conductor of various musical groups and as a composer, his growing interest in jazz led him during the second half of the 1950s to attempt to combine jazz and classical music composition.

A key work was the octet Tempo e relazione (1957) – a piece in five movements based on two 12-note series – and from that point on Gaslini became recognized as a major figure of the Italian and wider jazz avant garde. His music continued to be characterized by a determination to integrate different idioms, including free jazz, serialism, pop, and electronics. Alongside this ‘multi-lingual’ approach, set apart from the American Third Stream, he made manifest a political commitment to working-class and student left-wing movements after ...

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Craig Jennex

(b Thunder Bay, ON, Nov 28, 1949). Canadian pianist, composer, musical director, actor, producer, and bandleader. He has been musical director for David Letterman’s late-night shows since 1982. Prior to working with Letterman, Shaffer was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has served as musical director and producer for the Blues Brothers and cowrote the 1980s dance hit “It’s raining men.” He has served as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in ...