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Pianist Dave McKenna Dies at 78

Dave McKenna, a pianist who specialized in the standards of the Great American Songbook, died Oct. 18 in State College, Penn. He was 78 and the cause was complications from lung cancer and diabetes. McKenna had retired several years ago.

Born in Woonsocket, R.I., on May 30, 1930, McKenna learned the piano from his mother. His father was a drummer and his sisters sang. McKenna began playing professionally by age 15. By his mid-twenties he was playing in the bands of Charlie Ventura and Woody Herman. After a stint in the Army, he played with artists such as Buddy Rich, Stan Getz and Gene Krupa. In the early ’60s he became a staff musician at ABC-TV.

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