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Johnny Costa

Johnny Costa was called "a phenomenal pianist" (Dick Hyman), "the Mozart of jazz piano" (Leonardo Meledandri), and "the White Tatum" (Art Tatum). I called Johnny my most precious friend. Costa was admired by many jazz giants: Benny Carter, Dave Brubeck, Tommy Dorsey, Dizzy Gillespie, Scott Hamilton, Dick Hyman, Jack Teagarden, Mel Torme, Teddy Wilson, among many others. During the final decade of Johnny's life, I traveled to Pittsburgh many times, spending as much time with him as his failing health permitted. I met his family and many of his friends, all of whom have been gracious to me, particularly Debbie Costa Elwood, his daughter, and Clara Nelson, his sister, both who became good friends. I will never forget observing the respect, love, and admiration extended to Johnny everywhere we went— waiters at restaurants, the butcher at the market, the sound engineer at Audiomation recording studio, members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and hundreds of fans who attended his final concert in Harrisburg, PA, men and women who followed his career for decades. This website is dedicated to Johnny Costa, the man I love, an extraordinary person and nonpareil pianist


Johnny Costa Albums Reissued

Johnny Costa Albums Reissued

On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers was in Washington, D.C., testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications. Rogers hosted Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, a children's show launched in Pittsburgh in 1968 on National Educational Television. He was in the hot seat trying to prevent a promised $20 million federal grant to PBS and the Corporation for ...


Craig Fraedrich Tony Nalker: Alone Together

Read "Alone Together" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

An involved listening to this oxymoron-titled album could easily have one thinking that trumpeter Craig Fraedrich and pianist Tony Nalker probably could have been categorized by Audobon as “birds of a musical feather." That's not a surprise since both spent decades in the elite U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble and they've worked together on Fraedrich's previous ...


Johnny Costa: Mr. Rogers' Piano

Johnny Costa: Mr. Rogers' Piano

Two jazz pianists come to mind when talk turns to children. The first and best known is Vince Guaraldi, the composer of songs and incidental music for the Charlie Brown specials and the pianist who played them. Guaraldi died in 1976. The second keyboard player is Johnny Costa, the musical director and keyboard player on Mister ...

Jazzing Up Childhood Memories

Read "Jazzing Up Childhood Memories" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Jazz musicians today sometimes draw on all sorts of popular culture for inspiration, including the television shows they grew up with. Here are two fine examples. The Flying Horse Big Band The Bat Swings! Flying Horse Records 2018 The University of Central Florida's Flying Horse Big Band presents a ...


Johnny Costa

Johnny Costa

The recent Rifftides review of pianist Sullivan Fortner’s new album mentions Johnny Costa as an influence. The influence came early. Like millions of other American children, Fortner grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was captivated by the music Costa played with his trio on the television show. Costa was Rogers’ musical director from the birth ...

Mercedes Bends/Colorado Waterfall

Label: Scandia
Released: 0


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