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Jimmy Amadie, Pianist and Educator, Dies at 76

Sidelined for decades by tendonitis, Philadelphia musician never gave up

Jimmy Amadie

Jimmy Amadie, a pianist also known for his books on music theory, died in Philadelphia on Dec. 10. The cause was lung cancer. Amadie was 76.

Amadie was born in Philadelphia in 1937 and was an athlete in his youth. Early in his music career, in the late 1950s, he played with Coleman Hawkins, Red Rodney, Mel Torme, Charlie Ventura, Woody Herman and others, but severe tendonitis, diagnosed in the late 1960s, restricted him from playing for more than a few minutes a day. Despite his condition, Amadie continued to record and was an educator as well. He reportedly worked on his 1995 solo debut Always With Me for 18 months. It was followed by several other releases, including a tribute to Tony Bennett in 2003. He underwent several surgeries and physical therapy and in 2011 he played his first concert in decades at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was released as an album the following year.

Amadie taught at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and at Villanova University in Philadelphia, and gave private lessons at his home in Bala Cynwyd. Penn. (His students included guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.)

Amadie authored the highly regarded books Harmonic Foundation For Jazz & Popular Music and Jazz Improv: How To Play It and Teach It!

Originally Published