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Jazz Piano

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NEWS
January 22, 1988 | By NELS NELSON, Daily News Jazz Columnist
I warned JoAnne Brackeen - not too seriously, mind you - that if she let this Chi Kung business get around, some smartass would begin calling her the Shirley MacLaine of jazz. She gave a little giggle and said, "Friends have been telling me this since I was very young. " Let me tell you about JoAnne and me. In the last dozen years we have had three conversations - two of them by telephone. Each exchange began as though it had immediately followed the previous one. I imagine it is the same with this remarkable musician and all of her friends, for she is truly a child of the cosmos, connected irrevocably with every other soul in the universe.
NEWS
April 14, 2012 | By Dan Moberger, Inquirer Staff Writer
George Mesterhazy, 58, of Cape May, a Hungarian-born, Grammy-nominated jazz musician, died at home in his sleep early Thursday of what longtime life partner Vicki Watson called natural causes. Mesterhazy's selfless attitude when playing and composing music made him the perfect fit for renowned jazz singers for decades. He translated this musical quality into everyday life, leaving a legacy of generosity on and off the bandstand. "He is, by far, the most inspirational piano player I've ever worked with," said cabaret and jazz singer Paula Johns, with whom Mesterhazy worked for more than 20 years.
NEWS
December 2, 2012
A sharp intellectual and neighborhood champion, former City Councilman Edward A. Schwartz died last week at age 69. Swept into office in 1983, when Philadelphia elected its first African American mayor, W. Wilson Goode, Schwartz brought his unique brand of community activism into City Hall. An early adapter to computers, he set up a clunky one in Council chambers for mid-1980s budget hearings so he could analyze the administration's math. He used the Internet to organize grassroots activists and spread the reach of his Institute for the Study of Civic Values, which he founded in 1973.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 17, 2001 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Brad Mehldau plays jazz piano with the sensibility of a painter. He rarely attacks anything hard, the way some of his brethren do, to demand attention. Instead, he flicks at his melodies, dabbing here and there, brushing the keys to leave the faintest of impressions. His lines scurry and sneak around corners, and when he's finished with one of his long, dream-sequence phrases, it may not be possible to recall every twist in the path, but you know you just visited someplace beautiful.
NEWS
January 30, 2003 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Russell C. Tibbetts, 74, a retired insurance executive, barbershop quartet singer, and a jazz pianist, died Saturday of cancer at his home in Upper Providence, Delaware County. A native of Squantum, Mass., Mr. Tibbetts began playing jazz piano as a student at North Quincy High School. He continued to play while earning a bachelor's degree at Boston University. While serving in the Army in Japan after World War II, he played in the Officers' Club and for a drum-and-bugle corps. In the 1940s, he began his business career as a field salesman with Standard Accident Insurance Co. in Boston and moved to Philadelphia in the 1950s to work for Reliance Insurance Co. He retired in 1988 as president of Reliance Special Risk, a Reliance subsidiary.
NEWS
January 31, 2013 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
Jef Lee Johnson, 54, a Philadelphia guitar virtuoso who played with musicians from McCoy Tyner to Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey and who was renowned for his command of a variety of styles, died Monday, Jan. 28. He died at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, said his brother, James. The cause was complications from pneumonia and diabetes, according to his Belgium-based management company. "He was a soft-spoken genius that made every musician around him better," the Philadelphia trombonist and bandleader Jeff Bradshaw said.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 1986 | By DAVE BITTAN, Daily News Staff Writer
Mel Torme, probably the most musicianly jazz singer ever, will be 60 on Sept. 13. That's a month to the day after George Shearing, who knows his way around the jazz piano as well as anyone, turns 67. Together, they have accumulated more than 100 years as professional musicians. And it showed last night in "An Evening with Mel Torme and George Shearing," the first Academy of Music concert in the Mellon Jazz Festival. Torme and Shearing mesh like Cagney & Lacey, Stiller & Meara, bagels and cream cheese.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 1997 | By Frank Wilson, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Song and dance are the twin roots of music. Good vibrations of the vocal cords are apt to set idle toes tapping. No need to take this on faith, though. You can hear it for yourself during Swarthmore College's FebFest, which begins tonight and continues through the month. Classical music old and new, folk and jazz will be featured. In addition to concerts and recitals, there will be lectures and workshops. Most events are free. At tonight's concert, that wondrously versatile soprano Benita Valente will take the stage with James Freeman and Orchestra 2001 to perform Earl Kim's Exercises en route, settings of four poems by Samuel Beckett.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 1991 | By Nels Nelson, Daily News Staff Writer
Ellis Marsalis and Marcus Roberts both play jazz piano, and there the resemblance ends. Marsalis is 56, an esteemed music educator and father of six sons, four of whom are musicians. They are saxophonist Branford, 29; trumpeter Wynton, 28; trombonist-producer Delfeayo, 25, and drummer Jason, 13. Roberts is 27 and single, and one of the premier young pianists in the business. He played in Wynton Marsalis' band for five years until he went out on his own last year. Roberts and the elder Marsalis are paired tonight in a concert kicking off the 3rd annual Presidential Jazz Weekend at the WHYY Forum Theater.
NEWS
September 3, 1996 | By Anne Barnard, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Some nights, "Father John" D'Amico can be found playing jazz piano in an old Presbyterian church in Philadelphia. On work days, he counsels Spanish-speaking parolees as a city probation officer, using the language he learned in Puerto Rico while studying in a Catholic seminary. Labor Day weekend, though, found the former priest under a yellow-and-white canopy in Chester County, his round shoulders jiggling as he pounded out Duke Ellington tunes and some of his own songs for a crowd of wine drinkers and jazz lovers at the Chaddsford Winery's annual jazz festival.
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NEWS
August 21, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
WHEN THE children of the Blake household in South Philly turned 6, they took piano lessons. "There were no ifs, ands or buts about it," said one of those kids, Charlotte Blake Alston. "You played the piano. " It was an edict from their mother, Carrie Blake, a church organist who knew the value of music to the human soul. Their father was a very literate letter carrier. Another of Carrie's children was John Blake Jr., who became an internationally renowned jazz violinist. He always acknowledged that his love of music began in the pews of Holy Trinity Baptist Church in South Philadelphia.
NEWS
November 7, 2013 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
IF HIS SMILE was like a warm hug, as a fan put it, his piano playing was like a mellow caress. Father John D'Amico was not only an outstanding jazz pianist who gathered fans wherever he played throughout the city, but he was also a warm and fuzzy friend and a man devoted to social causes. When he died Thursday in Lankenau Hospital, doctors and nurses wept. "They really loved him," said his wife, Kathleen. "He was the kind of person you really liked. Since he died, I've been getting hundreds of messages.
NEWS
January 31, 2013 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
Jef Lee Johnson, 54, a Philadelphia guitar virtuoso who played with musicians from McCoy Tyner to Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey and who was renowned for his command of a variety of styles, died Monday, Jan. 28. He died at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, said his brother, James. The cause was complications from pneumonia and diabetes, according to his Belgium-based management company. "He was a soft-spoken genius that made every musician around him better," the Philadelphia trombonist and bandleader Jeff Bradshaw said.
NEWS
December 2, 2012
A sharp intellectual and neighborhood champion, former City Councilman Edward A. Schwartz died last week at age 69. Swept into office in 1983, when Philadelphia elected its first African American mayor, W. Wilson Goode, Schwartz brought his unique brand of community activism into City Hall. An early adapter to computers, he set up a clunky one in Council chambers for mid-1980s budget hearings so he could analyze the administration's math. He used the Internet to organize grassroots activists and spread the reach of his Institute for the Study of Civic Values, which he founded in 1973.
NEWS
April 14, 2012 | By Dan Moberger, Inquirer Staff Writer
George Mesterhazy, 58, of Cape May, a Hungarian-born, Grammy-nominated jazz musician, died at home in his sleep early Thursday of what longtime life partner Vicki Watson called natural causes. Mesterhazy's selfless attitude when playing and composing music made him the perfect fit for renowned jazz singers for decades. He translated this musical quality into everyday life, leaving a legacy of generosity on and off the bandstand. "He is, by far, the most inspirational piano player I've ever worked with," said cabaret and jazz singer Paula Johns, with whom Mesterhazy worked for more than 20 years.
NEWS
March 26, 2012 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Virginia Price Childs, 89, a whiz with needle and thread, playful musician, and tireless volunteer for her Quaker community, died Thursday, March 22, of heart failure at Stapeley in Germantown, a retirement community. Known as "Dinnie" (from a childhood mispronunciation of Ginnie), Mrs. Childs was born in Mount Airy and lived most of her life there before moving to Stapeley with her husband, Jack, in 2005. A 1940 graduate of Germantown Friends School and 1944 graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., she was a lifelong supporter of both institutions, and of the Germantown Monthly Meeting.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2012 | BY JONATHAN TAKIFF, Daily News Staff Writer
YOU AIN'T heard nothing like "rockjazz" musician ELEW - the torrent of power and passion kicking out the jams tonight for the "Live from Loews" (hotel) monthly concert series. The press release bills it as an "intimate live performance. " Don't they know what they're really getting here? Standing/dancing at his Yamaha piano, with legs fanned out like a sumo wrestler and arms encrusted with metallic "vambrace" armor, the man truly attacks his keyboard. The left hand pounds bass lines with such fervor you'll never notice there's no drummer.
NEWS
June 18, 2007 | By David R. Adler FOR THE INQUIRER
The house lights never dimmed at the Keswick Theatre on Friday night. Chick Corea and B?la Fleck preferred it that way: no concert-hall austerity, no darkness, but instead an informal living-room atmosphere. In this acoustically superb space, every nuance from Corea's piano and Fleck's banjo leapt from the stage, magnified and unblemished. Banjo? Not what you'd expect at a jazz gig. But Fleck has brought a new improvisational range to the instrument while preserving its backwoods flavor.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 2004 | By Tom Moon INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
"Your collection could be completely filled with nothing but Ray Charles music," the singer and songwriter Tom Waits mused recently, "and you'd have a fairly complete picture of American music. "You want jazz, there is jazz from him that's not just showroom material, but playing on a we-mean-business level. You want anything in R&B, he is of course the source. He was the one to recognize that you can't really sing country unless you can sing the blues. . . . What's remarkable about it is in his mind it was all music, it all nourished him the same way. " And, crucially, Charles approached all of the music he tackled in the same way. Regardless of the style, Charles sang as though determined to open up lines of communication beyond mere words.
NEWS
January 30, 2003 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Russell C. Tibbetts, 74, a retired insurance executive, barbershop quartet singer, and a jazz pianist, died Saturday of cancer at his home in Upper Providence, Delaware County. A native of Squantum, Mass., Mr. Tibbetts began playing jazz piano as a student at North Quincy High School. He continued to play while earning a bachelor's degree at Boston University. While serving in the Army in Japan after World War II, he played in the Officers' Club and for a drum-and-bugle corps. In the 1940s, he began his business career as a field salesman with Standard Accident Insurance Co. in Boston and moved to Philadelphia in the 1950s to work for Reliance Insurance Co. He retired in 1988 as president of Reliance Special Risk, a Reliance subsidiary.
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