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Dave McKenna

One of the top swing-based pianists of the past 25 years, Dave McKenna's hard-driving basslines give momentum to uptempo pieces, and his vast knowledge of superior songs from the 1930s has resulted in many rewarding albums of traditional but fresh music. Although talented from the start, McKenna did not achieve that much recognition until he was already in his forties. He joined the Musicians' Union when he was 15 and picked up early experience playing with Boots Mussulli (1947), Charlie Ventura (1949), and Woody Herman's Orchestra (1950-1951). After two years in the military, McKenna had a second stint with Ventura (1953-1954) and then worked with a variety of top swing and Dixieland players including Gene Krupa, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett, and Bob Wilber (in the late '70s), and was a soloist at piano bars in Massachusetts. McKenna had recorded for ABC-Paramount (1956), Epic (1958), Bethlehem (a two-piano date shared with Hall Overton in 1960), and Realm (1963), but in 1973, McKenna's talents finally began to be more fully documented. He led sets for Halycon, Shiah, Famous Door, Inner City (with vocalist Teddi King), and four for Chiaroscuro. And then in 1979 with No Bass Hit (a trio date with Scott Hamilton and Jake Hanna), McKenna debuted with Concord, finding his home. He has made many sessions for Concord ever since, some as a sideman or with small groups, but the best ones being unaccompanied recitals. In the mid-'90s Dave McKenna was at the top of his field. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
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Comments

mbenaron
Cape Cod and the rest of the world miss Dave and will always be grateful for his time with us.He set the standard for so many young musicians and still reminds us constantly that the melody still matters
One of my favorite piano players of all time. Saw him every time we were in cape Cod.
Please put a better picture of Dave here....this one is the era he was ill.....have a heart..post a good one..geez!
Much better photos of Dave available... t h i s one when he was ill.
efc737
Just a few piano notes and a little left hand and you know it is Dave. Enjoyed his performances at the VanDyke in Schenectady NY and many other venues in the Albany area. Really, really miss him!
animieforeve r
Dave McKenna had the technique, the musicianship , and the grace to imagine, without self-flatter y , that the standard set by Art Tatum was attainable by another human being.
My wife and I attended many of his performances on Cape Cod in the summer months. He was a truly outstanding artist who seemed to get better every time we heard him. What a pair of hands! At his best,it sounded like dual pianists were playing.
jfw91250
I've listened to everything he has ever done... No piano player moves me like Mr. McKenna. I waslucky to see him in Madison, wi with Grey Sargent before he died.

My favorite of all time.
drjay48
When I lived on Cape Cod, Dave's son used to take care of our dog and Doug told us how the dog made himself at home with Dave and parked under the piano as Dave was playing/prac t i c i n g . We should all be so lucky.
I've know him since I was a kid.He was my freind and my Dad's freind,we miss him alot!
it just does not get any better than Dave McKenna...th e toughness of a linebacker with the precision of a surgeon!
joeswing8
the man has three hands

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