Tete Montoliu

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Tete Montoliu
Tete Montoliu-Bobby Hutcherson.jpg
Montoliu (left), with Bobby Hutcherson at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz, CA, 14 May 1984
Background information
Birth name Vicenç Montoliu i Massana
Born 28 March 1933
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Died August 24, 1997(1997-08-24) (aged 64)
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano

Tete Montoliu (28 March 1933 – 24 August 1997) was a jazz pianist from Catalonia, Spain. His real name was Vicenç Montoliu i Massana.[1]


Montoliu was born blind, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, and died in the same city. He was the only son of Vicenç Montoliu (a professional musician) and Àngela Massana, a jazz enthusiast, who encouraged her son to study piano. Montoliu's first experimenting with the piano took place under the tuition of Enric Mas at the private school for blind children that he attended from 1939 to 1944. In 1944, Montoliu's mother arranged for Petri Palou to provide him with formal piano lessons.

From 1946 to 1953 Montoliu studied music at the Conservatori Superior de Música de Barcelona, where he also met jazz musicians and became familiar with the idiom in jam sessions. During the early stages of his career, Montoliu was particularly influenced by the music of U.S. jazz pianist Art Tatum, although he soon developed a distinctive style. Montoliu began playing professionally at pubs in Barcelona, where he was noticed by Lionel Hampton on 13 March 1956. Montoliu toured with Hampton through Spain and France and recorded Jazz Flamenco, setting off a prolific international career.

In the 1960s, Montoliu played in various concerts at New York and established collaborations with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Richard Davis. During the 1970s, Montoliu travelled extensively throughout Europe, consolidating his reputation as a main referent in the hard bop movement. During the 1980s, he played in numerous concerts, collaborating with jazz players such as Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Hank Jones, Roy Hargrove, and Jesse Davis, among others.

In 1996, shortly before his death, Spain paid public tribute to Montoliu for his fifty-year career in jazz.[2]


  • 1975: Boleros
  • 1974: Tete!
  • 1974: Music for Perla
  • 1974: Catalonian Fire
  • 1974: Songs for Love
  • 1971: Lush Life
  • 1971: That's All
  • 1971: Body & Soul (Enja Records)
  • 1971: Body and Soul (Black Lion)
  • 1971: It's About Blues Time
  • 1977: Catalonian Folksongs (Timeless Muse)
  • 1979: Duo (Timeless Muse, with George Coleman)
  • 1976: Tootie's Tempo (SteepleChase Records, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen)


  1. ^ Allmusic
  2. ^ "Cincuenta años de un genio cercano" El País. 11 March 1996. http://elpais.com/diario/1996/03/11/cultura/826498804_850215.html

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