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Frank Mantooth Dies

Frank Mantooth, a Grammy-nominated pianist, composer and arranger, died in Garden City, Kan. on Jan. 30 of natural causes. He was 56.

Born in Tulsa, Okla. in 1947 to musical parents, Mantooth took up piano at an early age and began playing professionally by the age of 14. After graduating from North Texas State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in music, Mantooth began contributing arrangements as a member of the Air Force Academy Falconaires. In 1973 he moved to Austria to attend Vienna’s Hochschule für Musik, where he earned his piano degree.

Mantooth had already made a name for himself in jazz and jazz education when he returned to the U.S. in 1980, as he had begun publishing his works and arrangements while in Europe. During the ’80s and ’90s Mantooth was commissioned to write music for countless players and ensembles including Louie Bellson, Art Farmer, Carla Helmbrecht, Doc Severinsen, the Kansas City Symphony and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Mantooth published more than 165 musical works and also created five volumes of The Best Chord Changes for the World’s Greatest Standards for the Hal Leonard Corp. Mantooth also spent much of his time teaching at universities, high schools and summer jazz camps.

Mantooth can be heard on record on the five albums he made for the Sea Breeze label that feature artists like Louie Bellson, Bobby Shew, Clark Terry and Ramsey Lewis. These albums led to 11 Grammy nominations for Mantooth and all five remain in print.

Mantooth is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.

Originally Published