A true virtuoso who can play creatively in any jazz style, Dick Hyman has mostly focused on swing and stride during the past 30 years. Born in 1927 in New York City, Hyman worked with Red Norvo during 1949-50 and with Benny Goodman. He became a constantly working studio musician, a suitable profession for one with his very eclectic interests. He can be seen in the one sound film of Charlie Parker (playing “Hot House” with Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in 1952), he recorded honky-tonk piano under a variety of names, made records on an early synthesizer, was Arthur Godfrey’s musical director on radio during 1959-62, and recorded pop versions of rock tunes. Occasionally Hyman emerged to play jazz, and in the 1970s he decided to focus on 1920s and ’30s jazz, recording prolifically as a piano soloist and leader. He performed with the New York Jazz Repertory Company, wrote soundtracks for Woody Allen movies, and recorded tributes to Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey and Scott Joplin. Hyman was featured on memorable duet projects with cornetist Ruby Braff and pianists Ralph Sutton, Dick Wellstood and Derek Smith. One legendary album, A Child Is Born, featured Hyman interpreting the title cut in the style of a dozen different pianists, an accomplishment few others could think of doing. Fortunately Hyman also has his own style and has been one of the finest swing and stride pianists to emerge since World War II., a true living legend.
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