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Johnny Costa

Johnny Costa made a number of fine recordings over his long musical career, but he will probably be better remembered for his musical contributions to television. After initially studying accordion in childhood, he took up the piano, studying with a teacher who had also taught Oscar Levant. Costa discovered he had perfect pitch and earned two college degrees in music education, though teaching was only a backup plan to his real goal of performing. He spent 15 years as music director for KDK-TV in Pittsburgh and recorded LPs for Savoy Coral and Dot in the 1950s. He achieved his greatest fame as the music director for the long-running public TV series Mister Rogers Neighborhood, where he insisted on playing jazz, reasoning that children will gravitate to good music. He was correct, as he remained with the program for the final three decades of his life. He did several sessions for Chiaroscuro in the 1990s, with Dream being released around the time of his death from leukemia in 1996. ~ Ken Dryden
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Dream - Johnny Costa Plays Johnny Mercer

1. Dream

2. I'm Old Fashioned

3. Laura

4. I Remember You

5. Early Autumn

6. Jeepers Creepers

7. Skylark

8. Too Marvelous For Words

9. A Kiss From You

10. That Old Black Magic

11. I Thought About You

12. Blues In The Night

13. Autumn Leaves

14. Tangerine

15. Fools Rush In

16. Day In Day Out

x

Track List: Classic Costa

1. Holiday For Strings

2. Get Happy

3. My Funny Valentine

4. Debbie

5. You Came A Long Way From St. Louis

6. Just One Of Those Things

7. The Man I Love

8. How High The Moon

9. It Never Entered My Mind

10. At The Darktown Strutters Ball

11. They're Not Writing

12. What Is This Thing Called Love

13. Stumbling

14. Stella By Starlight

15. Cherokee

16. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me

17. Fascinating Rhythm

18. Jazzspeak

x

Track List: Neighborhood

1. Tea For Two

2. Caravan

3. Manhattan

5. Just One Of Those Things

7. Honeysuckle Rose

8. Stella By Starlight

Comments

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I fell in love with jazz because of Costa. "Watching" Mister Rogers walk down that empty street in the neighborhood of make believe. The piano jazz was what got inside and infected me with a love for great piano jazz. Forever grateful
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Tremendous talent!
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His albums are wonderful, but, oddly enough, his greatest playing can always be heard on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood . He knew those songs as if they were limbs on his body, but he never played them the same twice.. in 30 years!
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Guillermo... h i s playing is out-of-sight .
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Did you know that Johnny Costa was the piano player for Mr. Rogers Neigborhood for so many years? I was always aware of this amazing music behind the show but didn't know who he was.
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I was looking up for Ives Montand's Les Feuilles Mortes and then I found the sounds of Johnny Costa. Whoa! his piano is magical.
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What great guitar player!!!
What a genome???
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Here's another shining example of why I listen to Pandora.com! I am surprised I never heard of this person until now. What a beautiful style he had...I could listen to this stuff all night!

Paulette Le Pore Motzko
Report as inappropriate
where is johnny costa music currently being played on pandora. Johnny Costa was a colleague of mine when I was a staff director at then WDTV and later when it became KDKA-TV. I believed with all my heart that he was the finest of our contemporary pianists. One, who shall remain nameless,was a leading jazz pianist who was booked on an afternoon TV program in Pittsburgh. Johnny was the station's musical director and told the man that he would be thrilled to play a duet with him. He was refused, be

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