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William Bauza

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2017-04-28

I was first exposed to jazz in grammar school (1950s) because my Dad, a violinist, bought a Sears Silvertone monophonic radio and record player. He played some big band music and we listened to radio many evenings. I began accordion lessons at age 9 and continued for 10 years. One album that I wore out was Dick Contino on accordion and Eddie Layton on organ. I played my first gig at age 16, New Year's Eve with a bassist and drummer from the music store where I took lessons. I was encouraged by accordion teacher whose son was the bassist! My weekends were spent in dance combos, my earnings helped pay for college and new keyboards. I met Dave Brubeck at a Stony Point NY Presbyterian Retreat in 1990. He received the first award for Jazz Artist at the first 'Jazz and The Church' conference-about 40 participants in all. Planned by Keyboardist/composer Pastor Bill Carter and hosted by the Presbybop Quartet, I was fortunate to listen to Dave's solo playing on an upright piano. Later I had a photo-op at a meet and greet. I have many of Dave's albums!

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