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Jazz Pianist

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NEWS
July 8, 2013
Paul Smith, 91, a jazz pianist who accompanied many top singers and who provided the sensitive touch and rhythmic spark behind many of Ella Fitzgerald's most acclaimed performances, died June 29 at a hospital in Torrance, Calif., of heart ailments, said his publicist, Alan Eichler. Mr. Smith, whose career lasted more than 70 years, worked with two of the biggest musical acts of the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, before settling in Hollywood, where he performed on the sound tracks of hundreds of films and television shows.
NEWS
December 19, 2005 | By Karl Stark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Pianist Robert Glasper cuts a folksy figure. "I can't play and smell pork chops," the dreadlocked Houston native cracked from the Zanzibar Blue stage during his first set Friday night. He also spent a lot of time huckstering his first CD, Canvas, and mentioning his Web site in a rifflike manner that was both humorous and all business. At least Glasper's playing was no joke. Instead of trying to control what comes out, he rides it. Groove is a big part of his trio - with drummer Damion Reid and bassist Vicente Archer.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
MANY OF the hundreds of fans who swarmed into the Art Museum on the night of Oct. 14, 2011, knew at least something of pianist Jimmy Amadie's amazing story. They knew he had fought for years to overcome debilitating and painful tendinitis in his hands to become one of the greatest jazz artists ever to caress the ivories. They knew that the crippling condition had stopped his playing altogether in the early '60s, and that he wouldn't quit. He fought hard against the paralysis and pain to produce eight albums over the years, and to give ever-rarer public performances.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 1993 | By Jack Lloyd, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sumi Tonooka, who will be returning to the West Philadelphia neighborhood where she grew up for performances at the Mill Creek Jazz and Cultural Society today, is at a "difficult point" in her career. "A lot of people know my music, but they don't know my face or name," said the pianist-composer. A major problem is that record companies are not known for pulling out all the stops when it comes to promoting jazz artists - especially relatively unknown musicians. Columbia Records' push on Wynton Marsalis in the early days was a rare exception.
NEWS
December 29, 2015 | By Allison Steele, Staff Writer
Samuel "Sam" Dockery, a pianist whose performances and recordings with prominent musicians made him an icon of Philadelphia's jazz scene, died Dec. 23 at the Burlington Woods health-care facility in Burlington, N.J., from Alzheimer's disease. He was 86. Mr. Dockery, who spent most of his life in and around Philadelphia, worked steadily from the 1950s through the 1990s, playing on dozens of albums and touring with such nationally recognized artists as Buddy Rich and Betty Carter. He played hard bop, a subgenre of jazz that incorporates influences from rhythm and blues as well as gospel music.
NEWS
September 9, 2016 | By Dan DeLuca, MUSIC CRITIC
As a boy, Eric Wortham II - the Philadelphia pianist who has spent 2016 touring the world in Adele's backing band - went to a church convention in Baltimore. Singing in the choir, he happened to be standing with a view of an organ player who was working the keys and pedals of a Hammond B-3. "I was looking at his hands, and was just mesmerized watching him," recalled Wortham, 33, sitting by a Yamaha grand piano at Chris' Jazz Café ("My favorite jazz club in the city") before his two weekend gigs with the British pop superstar at the sold-out Wells Fargo Center.
NEWS
September 5, 2016 | By Susan Snyder, Staff Writer
At the historic Merion Inn in Cape May, Bob Myers and his wife were settling in for an evening of jazz, a mainstay on Tuesday nights. Locals, the Myerses have been coming to the inn for decades - "since two years before dirt," Bob says - long after the summer visitors take their beach chairs and go home, and well before they arrive for the next season. Barry Miles, a jazz pianist who worked as Roberta Flack's musical director for 15 years, is on the grand piano; Andy Lalasis is on bass; and Bob Shomo on drums.
NEWS
January 4, 2013 | By Vernon Clark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dottie Smith, 87, of Strawberry Mansion, a jazz singer who recorded and toured with the bandleader Louis Jordan in the 1950s and '60s and later owned a nightclub in North Philadelphia, died Thursday, Dec. 27, of cancer at her home. Mrs. Smith grew up singing in a church choir, but began performing secular music after striking up a friendship with Beryl Booker, a jazz pianist. During a club performance in Philadelphia in the 1940s, Booker called on Mrs. Smith to sing. Her rich vocals and stunning looks wowed the audience, which included Percy Joel, bassist with the Harlemaires, a vocal and instrumental group.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 28, 1994 | By Jack Lloyd, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Toshiko Akiyoshi was well along in her career as a jazz pianist/composer when, in her mid-40s, she concluded that something was missing and considered giving up music. "There was a revolution in jazz at the time and I thought I hadn't created any revolution, created any new style, and I questioned my significance," said Akiyoshi, who will perform with her trio Sunday afternoon at the Art Museum's Van Pelt Auditorium. "I mean, I felt that if I dropped dead, the jazz scene would not suffer.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2014 | BY KENNETH TURAN, Los Angeles Times
"LOW DOWN" is one from the heart. It's a melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized, a lovely film that brings great emotion and a dead-on feeling for time, place and recaptured mood to a story that is as universal as it is personal. Starring the letter-perfect duo of John Hawkes and Elle Fanning, "Low Down" is based on Amy-Jo Albany's finely written memoir of growing up with her father, famed jazz pianist Joe Albany, a heroin addict living in the on-the-skids Hollywood of the 1970s.
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NEWS
September 9, 2016 | By Dan DeLuca, MUSIC CRITIC
As a boy, Eric Wortham II - the Philadelphia pianist who has spent 2016 touring the world in Adele's backing band - went to a church convention in Baltimore. Singing in the choir, he happened to be standing with a view of an organ player who was working the keys and pedals of a Hammond B-3. "I was looking at his hands, and was just mesmerized watching him," recalled Wortham, 33, sitting by a Yamaha grand piano at Chris' Jazz Café ("My favorite jazz club in the city") before his two weekend gigs with the British pop superstar at the sold-out Wells Fargo Center.
NEWS
September 5, 2016 | By Susan Snyder, Staff Writer
At the historic Merion Inn in Cape May, Bob Myers and his wife were settling in for an evening of jazz, a mainstay on Tuesday nights. Locals, the Myerses have been coming to the inn for decades - "since two years before dirt," Bob says - long after the summer visitors take their beach chairs and go home, and well before they arrive for the next season. Barry Miles, a jazz pianist who worked as Roberta Flack's musical director for 15 years, is on the grand piano; Andy Lalasis is on bass; and Bob Shomo on drums.
NEWS
February 26, 2016 | By Shaun Brady, For The Inquirer
Today, John Pizzarelli is well-known as a sophisticated singer and guitarist, able to bridge the worlds of jazz and pop in elegant and witty ways. But in 1980, he was still a relatively shallow 20-year-old struggling to connect with the richness of experience represented by many classic jazz lyrics. That made his discovery of Nat King Cole particularly momentous. "The Nat King Cole Trio's material was an introduction to everything that was great about music," Pizzarelli recalls. "They could sound like a big band or they could sound intimate, you could play jazz on it, and the songs had a sense of humor.
NEWS
December 29, 2015 | By Allison Steele, Staff Writer
Samuel "Sam" Dockery, a pianist whose performances and recordings with prominent musicians made him an icon of Philadelphia's jazz scene, died Dec. 23 at the Burlington Woods health-care facility in Burlington, N.J., from Alzheimer's disease. He was 86. Mr. Dockery, who spent most of his life in and around Philadelphia, worked steadily from the 1950s through the 1990s, playing on dozens of albums and touring with such nationally recognized artists as Buddy Rich and Betty Carter. He played hard bop, a subgenre of jazz that incorporates influences from rhythm and blues as well as gospel music.
NEWS
June 17, 2015 | By Molly Eichel, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mayor Nutter announced Monday that Wynton Marsalis, the jazz and classical musician, composer, and arts advocate, is the recipient of the 2015 Marian Anderson Award. Marsalis, winner of a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and honored with the National Medal of Arts, joins other recipients of the medal, including Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, Mia Farrow, James Earl Jones, Berry Gordy Jr., and 2014 winner Jon Bon Jovi. He will accept the award at a gala concert Nov. 10 at the Kimmel Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 15, 2014 | BY KENNETH TURAN, Los Angeles Times
"LOW DOWN" is one from the heart. It's a melancholy, evocative, beautifully made memory piece, unblinking and unromanticized, a lovely film that brings great emotion and a dead-on feeling for time, place and recaptured mood to a story that is as universal as it is personal. Starring the letter-perfect duo of John Hawkes and Elle Fanning, "Low Down" is based on Amy-Jo Albany's finely written memoir of growing up with her father, famed jazz pianist Joe Albany, a heroin addict living in the on-the-skids Hollywood of the 1970s.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 2014 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Jose James mixes it up. And he's bringing that great mix to World Cafe Live Tuesday evening. His first independent release, 2008's The Dreamer , was filled with sauntering originals and Rahsaan Roland Kirk covers. James also has done collaborations with jazz pianist Junior Mance and drummer Chico Hamilton. In his work, the 33-year-old singer summons the earthiness of hip-hop, the lofty swing of jazz, and contemporary recording techniques for a bold, individual sound. And he will not be pigeonholed.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
MANY OF the hundreds of fans who swarmed into the Art Museum on the night of Oct. 14, 2011, knew at least something of pianist Jimmy Amadie's amazing story. They knew he had fought for years to overcome debilitating and painful tendinitis in his hands to become one of the greatest jazz artists ever to caress the ivories. They knew that the crippling condition had stopped his playing altogether in the early '60s, and that he wouldn't quit. He fought hard against the paralysis and pain to produce eight albums over the years, and to give ever-rarer public performances.
NEWS
July 8, 2013
Paul Smith, 91, a jazz pianist who accompanied many top singers and who provided the sensitive touch and rhythmic spark behind many of Ella Fitzgerald's most acclaimed performances, died June 29 at a hospital in Torrance, Calif., of heart ailments, said his publicist, Alan Eichler. Mr. Smith, whose career lasted more than 70 years, worked with two of the biggest musical acts of the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, before settling in Hollywood, where he performed on the sound tracks of hundreds of films and television shows.
NEWS
May 5, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
It is entirely possible that somewhere, somehow, there is a jazz joint Peter Nero never played, a TV show or variety hour on which he did not banter, a belter or hoofer with whom he never shared the stage, or a pops orchestra he failed to lead. Possible, but not likely. In Philadelphia, he has been known as the suave personification of the Philly Pops, and if Philadelphia is a town that likes its maestros long-lived, Nero's local popularity is easily explained. He has been artistic chief of the Philly Pops for nearly 31/2 decades - since its start.
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