Gene DiNovi

Decades: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


26 May 1928, New York City, New York, USA. DiNovi began playing piano seriously at the age of 12, when his brother arranged for piano lessons from a teacher who owed money for a painting job. Soon, more important lessons took place, again on piano, but this time from guitarist Chuck Wayne, followed by professional work with the Henry Jerome band. Amongst his fellow sidemen were Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. DiNovi’s influences at this stage in his career, he was still only 16, were largely boppers but then, as he entered his twenties, he worked with Joe Marsala, with whom he made his first records, and then with Lester Young. He also played with Tiny Kahn, Don Fagerquist, and Anita O’Day. In the early 50s he gigged mostly in New York and in 1956 became Lena Horne’s regular accompanist. He had previously accompanied Peggy Lee and a later job with Tony Bennett established a reputation for working with singers which stood him in good stead for a spell in...

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