Bengt Hallberg RIP

Bengt Hallberg at Microphone

Bengt Hallberg, honored as one of the finest pianists in modern jazz, died today in Uppsala, Sweden, of congestive heart failure. He was 80 years old. Hallberg’s keyboard touch and harmonic inventiveness came to the attention of musicians and listeners outside his native Sweden on Stan Getz’s 1951 recording of the traditional song “Ack Värmeland du sköna,” released in the US as “Dear Old Stockholm.” He made a further impression internationally with his playing on Quincy Jones arrangements for … [Read more...]

Paul Smith, 1922-2013

Paul Smith B&W

Another pianist, primarily noted for his impeccable accompaniment of singers but who was also a soloist of wide ranging abilities, died today. Paul Smith was 91. He was probably best known for his work with Ella Fitzgerald. He also played for Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan and Doris Day, among others. Early in his career, he worked with Ozzie Nelson, Les Paul and Tommy Dorsey. For a quarter of a century, he was the music director for Steve Allen’s television program. With his 1954 album Liquid Sounds, … [Read more...]