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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

Sep 21, 2011

The North Philadelphia native was a promising young pianist in the fifties, accompanying the likes of Mel Torme, Woody Herman and Red Rodney, when his performing career was brought to an abrupt halt by severe tendonitis in both hands. Playing the piano suddenly became sheer agony, and Amadie was reduced to improvising only in his head for the next 35 years.

He managed to maintain an influential presence on jazz through those decades thanks to his own teaching (students included Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Di Martino and famed TV composer Edd Kalehoff) and the publication of two highly-regarded instructional volumes: Harmonic Foundation for Jazz and Popular Music and Jazz Improv: How To Play It and Teach It. His own belated recording debut finally arrived in 1995, thanks to a series of surgeries and his own indomitable fighting spirit, honed as a young man in the boxing ring

That solo debut, Always With Me, was followed by a series of widely praised sessions on which Amadie was joined by legendary peers like Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Lee Konitz, and  Lew Tabackin. Just as his luck seemed to be improving he was faced with a further setback. Following the 2007 recording of The Philadelphia Story, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

I spoke with Jimmy about his latest trio release,  Something Special, and his return to the stage for the first time in over forty years on October 14 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Selections from his recent releases compliment the interview, including:

Jimmy Amadie Trio – “Happy Man’s Bossa Nova” from Something Special. The trio is composed of Amadie on piano, longtime friend and drummer Bill Goodwin, and bassist Tony Merino. This Amadie original The title comes from a suggestion for an assistant who felt it perfectly captured Amadie’s personality.

Jimmy Amadie Trio – “Blues for Sweet Lizzy” from Something Special. An uptempo number that celebrates the life of his beloved pet.

Jimmy Amadie Trio – “Marching with Benny G” from The Philadelphia Story: The Gospel As We Know It. Amadie has finally been able to record with some of his favorite musicians after years of silence. This CD featured Randy brecker, Lew Tabakin and for this track, Benny Golson.

Jimmy Amadie Trio – “Well You Needn’t” from Kindred Spirits. The trio is Amadie, Goodwin and Merino again on a Thelonious Monk classic, with Merino stealing the show with a killer bass line.