Another one of my favorite musicians is gone, pianist John Hicks has passed away at age 63. I loved his ability to play both "inside" and "outside" with power and grace, supporting firebreathers like Pharoah Sanders and David Murray as well as leading his own swinging trios through tributes to Earl Hines and Errol Garner. I only saw him in person once, in a duo performance with guitarist Peter Leitch at "A Place For Jazz" in Schenectady, NY; which held their concerts in an acoustically perfect Unitarian Church. I remember being a little apprehensive, wondering how one of my favorite pianists would sound in that setting, but the music was wonderful - warm, graceful and always swinging, like all of Hicks' music.
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