Nick DeNucci has died at 94

Nicholas DeNucciNICHOLAS DENUCCI, 94, on Sept. 9 in Keene, New Hampshire. In his 20s, Nick DeNucci was the pianist for Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra where he was a bandmate of Bobby Hackett and Herb Ellis.

He claimed that in those days the band charts were written in pencil so changes could be made easily. In the 1950s, he was the featured pianist for the 36 hotels in the Sheraton chain. He gave drummer Joe Morello his first professional job and was Judy Garland’s accompanist when she worked the summer theater circuit. “You don’t just play the notes,” he was quoted as saying. “You play the song,” of which he had nearly 3,000 memorized.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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