George Ziskind, a Chicago-born pianist who studied under Lennie Tristano and worked with Tadd Dameron and others, died Dec. 12 in New York due to complications from lymphoma. He was 86. A child prodigy with perfect pitch, at age 17 Ziskind won a boogie-woogie contest. He then became one of Tristano’s first students but Ziskind’s career was later interrupted by substance abuse problems, according to an email from Roy Grant, a friend of Ziskind’s family. While incarcerated at Lexington, Ky.’s “Narco Farm,” Ziskind befriended Dameron, becoming his assistant and copyist for all of the music rehearsed and played by the all-star prison band.
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