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The Johnny O’Neal Trio tonight at Small’s!

July 29, 2012

Johnny O’Neal is an American Neo-bop jazz pianist and vocalist. His playing ranges from the technically virtuosic to the tenderest of ballad interpretations. Though unique in style, he is influenced by many jazz elders, including Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum. He has led many recording dates with jazz heavyweights such as Russell Malone and many others. He is a 1997 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
In 1974, Johnny moved to Birmingham, Alabama from Detroit and worked as a musician, never needing a day job to make ends meet. In Birmingham he worked with local noted jazz musicians, such as Jerry Grundhofer, Dave Amaral, Cleveland Eaton, and Ray Reach. He moved to New York City to perform with Clark Terry in 1981, and also landed a regular job at the Blue Note, accompanying such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Nancy Wilson, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. He was a member of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for two years from 1982-1983 and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985.
On the recommendation of Oscar Peterson, O’Neal portrayed Art Tatum in the 2004 movie Ray, convincingly recreating Tatum’s sound on the song “Yesterdays”.
Tonight you can catch Johnny along with Paul Sikivie on Bass, and Sharif Zaban on drums at Small’s Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. I’ll be in the house. Will you?

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