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Dick Twardzik

Richard "Dick" Twardzik was an American jazz pianist who worked in Boston for most of his career.

He trained in classical piano as a child and made his professional debut at the age of fourteen. He was taught by Margaret Chaloff, the mother of baritone saxophone player Serge Chaloff. Twardzik recorded with Serge Chaloff and with Charlie Mariano. He worked with Charlie Parker on several occasions toward the end of Parker's life. Twardzik also played professionally with Chet Baker and Lionel Hampton. He recorded with Baker and Chaloff in 1954 and 1955.

In his teen years Twardzik became addicted to heroin


Dick Twardzik and Jay Migliori

Dick Twardzik and Jay Migliori

Boston had a heavy home-grown jazz scene in the 1940s and '50s. Top music schools were thee, a steady college demographic ensured a sophisticated club audience, and Boston was a major stop on the East Coast club touring circuit. Jazz musicians who benefited from the rich jazz activity were Serge Chaloff, Dick Wetmore, Charlie Mariano, Jaki ...


Bob Freedman on Dick Twardzik

Bob Freedman on Dick Twardzik

Following my post last week on pianist Dick Twardzik and his death in 1955 of a heroin overdose, I received an email from saxophonist and arranger Bob Freedman, who has worked with Maynard Ferguson, Sarah Vaughan, Grady Tate, Buddy Morrow, Lena Horne, Joe Williams, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis band and many others. (For my ...


Dick Twardzik: Piano Enigma

Dick Twardzik: Piano Enigma

Before Bill Evans, there was Dick Twardzik. Not that they played anything alike. Twardzik was a much more percussive pianist who mixed stormy dynamics with cat-like sensitivity, while Evans was a smoldering, graceful swinger. Both musicians were romantics, both were influenced by Bud Powell, both went into a trance when they played piano and both were ...


Joe Albany and Low Down

Read "Joe Albany and Low Down" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Joseph Albani (1924-1988), better known as Joe Albany, is a footnote in jazz history. A monumentally talented pianist with an exceptionally fragile constitution, Albany, like the late Chet Baker pianist Dick Twardzik, was hampered by a self-doubt relieved by heroin. Albany differed from Twardzik in that, like Baker, he lived well beyond the average junkie lifespan ...


Alexander Hawkins: Retaining The Sense of Discovery

Read "Alexander Hawkins: Retaining The Sense of Discovery" reviewed by John Sharpe

One of the fastest-rising stars of the UK jazz scene, pianist Alexander Hawkins is remarkable in that he shines equally in both the further reaches of free improvisation and the creation of ingeniously crafted charts. Indeed, Hawkins' particular talent might be in bringing the two so close that it's hard to distinguish between them. At times ...


On the Banks of the Jabbok With Chet Baker

Read "On the Banks of the Jabbok With Chet Baker" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

When Yale professor Harold Bloom was interviewed by NPR shortly after publication of Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine (Riverhead, 2005), he was quite candid about his relationship with his own Judaism and Yahweh: Bloom: ... I may, as I say, lack trust in the covenant, but though I keep asking Yahweh to go ...


Bertil "Jonas" Jonasson: Jonas Plays Gullin

Read "Jonas Plays Gullin" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Long after his death in 1976, Lars Gullin still casts a long shadow over the Scandinavian jazz scene. The baritone saxophonist was the first Swede to be accorded international recognition. He was one of Zoot Sims' Five Brothers in 1950, played with James Moody, Stan Getz, and Leonard Feather's Swinging Swedes. He won the 1954 Downbeat ...


Falkner Evans: The Point of the Moon

Read "The Point of the Moon" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Pianist Falkner Evans is a distant relative of the great American novelist William Faulkner, by the same obscure Southern logic by which Al Gore and Gore Vidal are related. He is also a former pianist for the tight Western swing outfit Asleep at the Wheel and leader of an acclaimed piano trio.Evans's famed ancestor ...


Local Jazz History at the Boston Public Library for Jazz Week from JazzBoston

Local Jazz History at the Boston Public Library for Jazz Week from JazzBoston

A sense of place and history always attends Jazz Week. Booker Ervin was a mail man not far from where I live in the 60s. Johnny Hodges was born over in Cambridgeport. This year focuses on a region and two pianists. Both Events will be at the Main Branch Library in Copley Square. “North Shore Jazz, ...


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