Junior Mance Biography

Julian Clifford Mance, Jnr., 10 October 1928, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Taught piano by his father, a professional jazz musician, Mance was playing professionally long before he entered his teenage years. In the late 40s, still in his teens, he joined a band led by Gene Ammons and in 1950 worked with Lester Young. After military service, he gained a residency at a Chicago jazz club before becoming Dinah Washington’s accompanist. In the mid-60s, he played with Cannonball Adderley and Nat Adderley, whom he had first met in an army band, then joined Dizzy Gillespie. By the early 60s, Mance had decided on a career as leader and from then onwards worked clubs throughout the USA. Although primarily known for his work in bop and post-bop groups, Mance’s playing reveals echoes of his father’s early instruction, which drew heavily upon the blues piano tradition. A gifted player with a fluent technique and subtle touch, Mance’s reputation worldwide is somewhat less than his talent deserves. The lack of attention was thoroughly redressed in the late 90s and in the new millennium, owing to highly successful world tours and jazz cruises backed by bass player Keith Betts and drummer Jackie Williams, together with the release of recordings from some of these events.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.