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Daily Dose Of Jazz…

Dave Grusin was born Robert David Grusin on June 26, 1934 in Littleton, Colorado to pianist mother and violinist father who emigrated from Riga, Latvia. He went on to study music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and received his degree in 1956.

He produced his first single Subways Are for Sleeping in 1962 and his first film score for Divorce American Style five years later. He would go on to score Winning, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Midnight Man and Three Days of the Condor, The Graduate, The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Mulholland Falls and The Goonies. He has been nominated six times for Academy Awards for his scoring and in 1988, he won an Oscar for Best Original Score for The Milagro Beanfield War.

In 1978 he had started GRP Records with his business partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. He also composed the original opening fanfare for TriStar Pictures film studio. Through the end of the century he continued to score films, television theme songs and episode music.

From 2000 through 2011, Dave concentrated on composing classical and jazz compositions, touring and recording with collaborators, including guitarist Lee Ritenour, with whom he was nominated three times and won a Grammy for the album Harlequin. won a Grammy Award in 1985.

Throughout his career he has conducted the Andy Williams Show orchestra, was musical director and arranger for the Catarina Valente TV show, lived in Amsterdam, received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and the University of Colorado, College of Music. Pianist, composer, arranger and producer Dave Grusin has and continues to collaborate with James Taylor, Renée Fleming, Paul Simon, Sérgio Mendes, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Billy Joel, Dave Valentin and Sadao Watanabe, among others.

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Sing Miller was born James Miller in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 17, 1914. He started out his career singing with the Harmonizing Browns Quartet and playing banjo, but in the late 1920s he switched to piano. He did solo freelance work and as an accompanist in New Orleans in the 1930s, playing with Percy Humphrey for a time.

Serving in the military during World War II, after his discharge he played with Earl Foster’s band from 1945 to 1961. During the 1960s he was a regular at Preservation Hall, working with Kid Thomas Valentine, Kid Sheik Colar, The Humphrey Brothers, Jim Robinson, and Polo Barnes. He did asolo tours of Europe in 1979 and 1981, and recorded two full-length albums under his own name, a 1972 effort for Dixie Records and one in 1978 for Smoky Mary.

Pianist Sing Miller, who was a longtime performer on the New Orleans jazz scene, passed away on May 18, 1990.

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Georges Arvanitas was born on June 13, 1931 in Marseille, France, to Arvanite Greek immigrants from Constantinople, Turkey. At age four he began studying piano and initially trained as a classical pianist. Influenced by Bud Powell and Bill Evans he switched to jazz in his teens.

At 18 he was called up for military duty and finding himself stationed in Versailles and his proximity to Paris, he was exposed to the city’s thriving postwar jazz culture. Soon he was moonlighting at clubs alongside American musicians such as Don Byas and Mezz Mezzrow. After completing his service, Arvanitas relocated permanently to Paris where he led the house band at the Club St. Germain before he graduated to the city’s premier jazz venue, the legendary Blue Note. There he played with  Dexter Gordon and Chet Baker. As his notoriety grew, he became a leader and with bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor recorded 3 A.M. in 1963. The trio would go on to win the Prix Django Reinhardt and the Prix Jazz Hot for the album.

Georges spent half of 1965 in New York City collaborating with saxophonist Yusef Lateef and trumpeter Ted Curzon on The Blue Thing and the New Thing for Blue Note. A year later he returned stateside on tour with trombonist Slide Hampton’s big band. A respected session player earning the nickname Georges Une Prise (One-take George) for his reliable efficiency and mastery and worked closely with Michel Legrand.

Best remembered for a series of LPs he cut with bassist Jacky Samson and drummer Charles Saudrais, the trio endured from 1965 to 1993. He was received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award in 1985. Unfortunately his failing health forced him to retire from music in 2003 and two year later pianist and organist Georges Arvanitas passed away in Paris on September 25, 2005.


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Monika Herzig was born June 12, 1964 in Germany and studied piano in her childhood. After receiving a scholarship in 1987 from the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama. Arriving in the United States in 1988 with one suitcase and a guitar, she went on to complete her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is a faculty member.

She recorded with the jazz fusion group BeebleBrox and has produced four albums as leader of the Monika Herzig Acoustic Project. Peace on Earth was released locally in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2008 and was released nationally in 2009 on the Owl Studios label.

She was awarded 1994 Best Original Composition, Let’s Fool One by DownBeat, was a two times finalist with BeebleBrox in 1994–1996, was a winner with Oliver Nelson Jr., WTPI Winter Jazzfest Competition in  Indianapolis, and in 2000, 2003 and 2005 was the recipient of the Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. Pianist Monika Herzig continues to perform, record and tour.

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Sanford Gold was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 9, 1911. He played locally in Cleveland and led regional bands before moving to New York City in the 1930s. It was in New York that he collaborated with Babe Russin and Raymond Scott in 1935.

Forming a trio with Dave Barbour in 1941 by 1942 Gold was working as a studio musician for CBS before serving in World War II from 1942 to 1946. After his discharged from the military, he worked with Don Byas, Mary Osborne and others before he going to work for NBC from 1949-1954. Gold recorded an album as a leader titled Piano d’Or on the Prestige label in 1955. He also performed as a sideman with Johnny Smith, Al Cohn, Vic Dickenson, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins and Sally Blair.

As an educator Sanford was considered one of the premier jazz piano teachers of his time. His self-published book, A Modern Approach to Keyboard Harmony and Piano Techniques, distills the complexities of jazz and classical harmony down to a simple yet far-reaching system of pianistic and harmonic exercises. It has become an underground classic for serious students of the instrument.

Pianist Sanford Gold, whose one of his biggest fans was Bill Evans and who often steered students his way, passed away on May 29, 1984 in Danvers. Massachusetts.

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