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MUSICIAN Born:

Johnny Varro

Johnny Varro (born 1930) is a pianist with roots in the swing style of jazz. He is also a leader and arranger. Varro was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began studying piano at the age of ten. During his teenage years he was introduced to jazz by way of the Commodore Music Shop in New York City. There he met the manager Jack Crystal (father of Billy Crystal), who was running jam sessions on the Lower East Side. At these sessions Johnny met some of the greatest players of the era, such as Willie "The Lion" Smith, Big Sid Catlett, Joe Thomas, Hot Lips Page, Joe Sullivan, Pete Brown and others. The experience of sitting in for Joe Sullivan and Willie "The Lion" Smith was invaluable and soon allowed Johnny to become a hired player. Johnny's first professional job was with Bobby Hackett touring the East Coast with his quartet

NEWS: FESTIVAL

Musicians On The Suncoast Jazz Festival Roster Say They Are Looking Forward To Upcoming Performances At Three Day Event

Musicians On The Suncoast Jazz Festival Roster Say They Are Looking Forward To Upcoming Performances At Three Day Event

A Variety of Artists Express Their Enthusiasm for the Festival’s Evolving and Eclectic Line Up As autumn begins its inevitable turn toward winter, the chance to enjoy a combination of jazz and sunshine becomes even more tempting. From November 22 through 25, the Suncoast Jazz Festival, which takes place on the travel-award-winning Clearwater Beach, will provide ...

NEWS: MUSIC INDUSTRY

The art of the jazz duo

The art of the jazz duo

Pianist Johnny Varro is best known for his interpretations of vintage jazz, most of it dating to the 1920s through the '40s. But Friday afternoon's duo concert with bassist Mark Neuenschwander for the South County Jazz Club gave Varro a chance to spread his wings a bit into material not associated with his Swing 7 classic ...

NEWS: PERFORMANCE / TOUR

Spotlighting Obscure Tunes with Toe-Tapping Swing

Spotlighting Obscure Tunes with Toe-Tapping Swing

Pianist Johnny Varro seems most at home in obscure jazz material—not only 50 or more years old, but in some cases, obscure even when it was first performed. Such was the case with more than half of the compositions he presented Monday night, November 11, with the Florida edition of his Swing 7 band at the ...

NEWS: RADIO

A Night at Nick's This Week on Riverwalk Jazz

A Night at Nick's This Week on Riverwalk Jazz

We invited Riverwalk Jazz listeners to share their memories of Nick's in the Village, and the phones began to ring off the hook. We heard from one man who had gotten engaged at the bar, one who was an Olympic athlete, and several who were musicians who had played at Nick's. These listeners, and others, contribute ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Terry Myers: Smiles

Read "Smiles" reviewed by Andrew J. Sammut

Tuneful, swinging and technically polished. Terry Myers isn't worried about anything else jazz is “supposed" to be. Smiles is a relaxed yet energetic romp through some standards, ballads and blues that the Florida-based saxophonist clearly loves to play. There's nothing complex or innovative here, just four musicians having a good time and looking to take the ...

Two Legends of Jazz

Label: Arbors Records
Released: 2009
Track listing: My Baby Just Cares For Me; The Touch of Your Lips; Menina Flor; After I Say I'm Sorry (What Can I Say?); It's Easy to Remember; A Smooth One; Bluesette; You're a Sweetheart; Secret Love; Out of Nowhere; Love Locked Out; I Love You; Someday You

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Johnny Varro: Two Legends of Jazz

Read "Two Legends of Jazz" reviewed by Joel Roberts

Though they're separated by nearly 30 years in age, veteran pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski are a perfectly matched pair. Varro, born in Brooklyn in 1930, has been a leading proponent of small-group swing since the '50s, appearing over his long career with the likes of Pee Wee Russell, Buck Clayton and Eddie Condon. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Johnny Varro: Two Legends of Jazz

Read "Two Legends of Jazz" reviewed by Mike Neely

Traditional jazz fans are lucky because Two Legends of Jazz catches pianist Johnny Varro and clarinetist Ken Peplowski on an inspired day in the studio. Varro has a light, subtle touch and melodic gift reminiscent of Teddy Wilson. Co-leader Peplowski sets aside his saxophones for clarinet during the entire session, which is a treat because his ...

The Johnny Varro Swing Seven: Swingin' on 57th Street

Label: Arbors Records
Released: 2001
Track listing: As Long As I Live; Caught; On the Sunnyside of the Street; Old Fashioned Love; Mission to Moscow; Black Butterfly; You Need to Rock; Bounce of the Sugar Plum Fairies; It


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