Peter Nero Biography

Bernard Nierow, 22 May 1934, Brooklyn, New York, USA. A stylish pianist, composer, and conductor, throughout his long career Nero has switched, apparently effortlessly, between classical, jazz and popular music. Early on, he trained as a classical musician, and became interested in jazz at the age of 19 after hearing the legendary Art Tatum. In the late 50s, he spent four years playing jazz clubs such as the Village Gate, Village Vanguard, the Blue Angel, and the Tropicana lounge in Las Vegas, before being discovered by RCA Records in 1960. They were looking for a ‘pop’ pianist, and auditioned more than 100 before choosing Nero. During the next eight years, he recorded some 24 albums, including the Grammy-winning The Colorful Peter Nero, which reached the UK chart in 1963. Two years previously, Nero had won the Grammy for Best New Artist. His other US Top 40 entries in the early 60s included Piano Forte, New Piano In Town, Young And Warm And Wonderful, For The Nero-Minded, Hail The Conquering Nero (number 5, his most successful album to date), Peter Nero In Person, and Reflections. In 1963 he wrote the music score and the title number (with Carroll Coates) for the sophisticated film comedy Sunday In New York, which starred Jane Fonda and Cliff Robertson. Mel Tormé sang the song over the movie’s credits, and included it on an Atlantic Records album that paid tribute to New York. Shortly after he moved from RCA to Columbia Records, in 1971 Nero had his solitary US singles hit with ‘Theme From Summer Of ’42’, and made the US Top 30 with an album of the same title. In the mid-70s Nero turned once more to jazz, touring and recording with his own trio. Since then, he has continued to appear on the concert platform as a pianist and conductor, often with top US symphony orchestras, still blending the classical with the popular.

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