Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b John Albert Guarnieri, 23 March '17, NYC; d 7 Jan. '85, NYC) Piano, composer. Allegedly descended from famous family of violin makers; studied classical music and turned to jazz '37; played with Benny Goodman '39--40 (played 'A Smo-o-o-oth One', 'Air Mail Special', etc with sextet) and Artie Shaw '40--41, playing harpsichord on Shaw's Gramercy Five sessions ('Summit Ridge Drive', 'Special Delivery Stomp', etc). With other bandleaders; later staff work with NBC; from '43--7 made hundreds of records with various groups: originally infl. by Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, etc but became a versatile craftsman who could play in many styles. With his own groups on various labels through '50s; relocated to LA '62 and had various residencies incl. Hollywood Plaza Hotel '63--5, nearly a decade at the Tail o' the Cock in North Hollywood through '81. Later specialized in playing in ]b5/4[ time, performing his own piano concerto in this style '70. Toured Europe '74--5. Albums as leader obscure, incl. Plays Harry Warren on Jim Taylor Presents label; Piano Dimensions on Dot; Plays Walter Donaldson on Dobre, Stealin' Apples and solo Superstride on Taz (Plays Fats Waller in UK) and Gliss Me Again on Classic Jazz, all from mid- '70s; solo Echoes Of Ellington on Sounds Great early '80s, on Star Line CD.