Vincenç Montoliu y Massana, 28 February 1933, Barcelona, Spain, d. 24 August 1997, Barcelona, Spain. Blind from birth, pianist Montoliu studied classical music as a child, but in his early teens started listening to the American jazz records issued by the La Vos de su Amo label, in particular the challenging work of artists such as Art Tatum, Earl Hines and Bud Powell. His own playing developed into a European interpretation of these American greats. He began playing with the American tenor Don Byas when he was 13, while still studying at the Barcelona Conservatory. By the mid-50s he was regularly sitting in with visiting American artists, including Lionel Hampton. By the end of the decade he had ventured north to play at a number of important European jazz festivals and had also played in Scandinavia.
Montolius own recording career began in 1958, and he was to prove a prolific recording artist. In the late 60s he played in New...