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Abuzz with Dick Hyman: Bumblebee's Jazz All Stars

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Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014 5:00 am

More people than know it have heard Dick Hyman playing piano. Known among jazz fans for his amazingly detailed technique and an ability to mirror the styles of Fats Waller, Scott Joplin, Earl Hines, and others, Hyman has had an extensive studio career. He has directed the music for a string of Woody Allen movies, played hundreds of recording sessions, and made network-television appearances dating back to the 1950s. A member of the NBC Studio Orchestra for some five years, he was the pianist for NBC’s Sing Along With Mitch. At the same time, he served as musical director for the popular morning television personality Arthur Godfrey. “I was open to all possible types of music and employment in New York,” Hyman told Pasatiempo from his home in Venice, Florida. “Being on staff at NBC for five years, playing organ on the early-morning shows, you never knew what kind of program you’d be assigned to and some of them were pretty strange.”

Hyman will co-lead a sextet, Bumblebee’s Jazz All Stars, with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli on Sunday, July 20, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center as part of the New Mexico Jazz Festival. Pizzarelli was also a member of the NBC Orchestra in the ’50s and has impressive studio credentials. Like Hyman, he’s been treasured for decades as a jazz musician. “I like to kid Bucky that he’s the only one in the business older than me and still playing,” chuckled the 87-year-old Hyman. “We’ve been playing together in the studio for all the band leaders and singers you can possibly think of since before the 1960s. He was everybody’s favorite bass guitarist. He was well-known for being one of the first players around New York who could play those [Antonio Carlos] Jobim tunes, that bossa nova stuff.”

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