display | more...

A pianist from New York; his brother Richie pianoed for Brown/Roach. One of the early virtuosi of bebop, but arguably, the wild, innovative part of his career was cut short due to mental problems, stemming from head injuries suffered in a beating at the hands of the police. There's a story of him "playing" the piano keys he'd drawn on a wall in the hospital. There remained flashes of brilliance, especially after moving to Paris, but it wasn't quite the same.

Born September 27, 1924. His grandfather was a great flamenco player. His father was a pianist and his brothers played the trumpet and the violin. At the age of 19 he started to show signs of mental illness. At the age of 21 he was put away in a nursing home due to schizophrenia. He was certified insane.
In 1951, he was arrested for drug possession. He received intensive detoxification and electric shock therapies.
In 1953 he performed in front of his idol, Art Tatum (another great pianist).
In 1956, while on tour with Miles Davis, Lester Young and the MJQ (Modern Jazz Quartet), his brother died in a car accident. Incidentally, Clifford Brown died in that same accident.
Soon he became totally insane, and in 1965 was fished out of the gutter (not for the first time), to perform two concerts, at Carnegie Hall, and at the Town Hall.
He died on July 24th, 1966 of pneumonia.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.