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Remembering André Previn (1929-2019)

In this great classical musician’s life and work, the love of jazz was a recurring theme

André Previn in 1973
André Previn in 1973 (photo: Bert Verhoeff/Anefo)

Upon his Feb. 28 passing at his home in Manhattan, 89-year-old André Previn was praised as many things: a well-respected composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and concert pianist. His musical gifts were such that he was often compared to Leonard Bernstein, 20th-century America’s most famous musical polymath. Previn won four Academy Awards for film scores and 11 Grammys, composed the well-received opera A Streetcar Named Desire, and worked with many of the finest symphony orchestras in the world.

Yet another important and pervasive element of Previn’s musical profile was his love of jazz piano—and his skill at playing it. He worked prodigiously in the worlds of film, concert music, and Broadway, but he pivoted to club dates and recording studios in the jazz trio format at seemingly every chance.

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