Dick Hyman

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Dick Hyman
Dick Hyman (Eugene, Oregon, 2005)
Dick Hyman (Eugene, Oregon, 2005)
Background information
Birth nameRichard Hyman
Born (1927-03-08) March 8, 1927 (age 97)
New York City, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing, lounge, stride piano
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, organ
Years active1940s–present
LabelsMGM, Command, MCA, Concord Jazz, Chiaroscuro, Arbors

Richard Hyman (born March 8, 1927) is an American jazz pianist and composer. Over a 70-year career, he has worked as a pianist, organist, arranger, music director, electronic musician, and composer. He was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters fellow in 2017.[1]

As a pianist, Hyman has been praised for his versatility. DownBeat magazine characterized him as "a pianist of longstanding grace and bountiful talent, with an ability to adapt to nearly any historical style, from stride to bop to modernist sound-painting."[2]

His grandson is designer and artist Adam Charlap Hyman.[3]

Early life[edit]

Hyman was born in New York City on March 8, 1927[4][5] to Joseph C. Hyman and Lee Roven (née Rovinsky), and grew up in suburban Mount Vernon, New York.[6] His older brother, Arthur, owned a jazz record collection and introduced him to the music of Bix Beiderbecke and Art Tatum.[7]

Hyman was trained classically by his mother's brother, the concert pianist Anton Rovinsky, who premiered The Celestial Railroad by Charles Ives in 1928.[8] Hyman said of Rovinsky: "He was my most important teacher. I learned touch from him and a certain amount of repertoire, especially Beethoven. On my own I pursued Chopin. I loved his ability to take a melody and embellish it in different arbitrary ways, which is exactly what we do in jazz. Chopin would have been a terrific jazz pianist! His waltzes are in my improvising to this day."[8][9]

Hyman enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1945, and was transferred to the U.S. Navy band department. “Once I got into the band department, I was working with much more experienced musicians than I was used to," Hyman once stated. "I’d played in a couple of kid bands in New York, playing dances, but the Navy meant business — I had to show up, read music, and be with a bunch of better players than I had run into." After leaving the Navy he attended Columbia University.[10] While there, Hyman won a piano competition, for which the prize was 12 free lessons with swing-era pianist Teddy Wilson. Hyman has said that he "fell in love with jazz" during this period.[11]


Relax Records released Hyman's solo piano versions of "All the Things You Are" and "You Couldn't Be Cuter" around 1950.[12] He recorded two honky-tonk piano albums under the pseudonym "Knuckles O'Toole" (including two original compositions),[13] and recorded more as "Willie the Rock Knox" and "Slugger Ryan".[14]

As a studio musician in the 1950s and early 1960s, Hyman performed with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Guy Mitchell, Joni James, Marvin Rainwater, Ivory Joe Hunter, LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown, The Playmates, The Wildcats, The Kookie Cats, The Four Freshmen, The Four Sophomores, Mitch Miller, and many more.[10] He played with Charlie Parker for Parker's only film appearance.[4] His extensive television studio work in New York in the 1950s and early 1960s included a stint as music director for Arthur Godfrey's television show from 1959 to 1961.[4][15]

Hyman has worked as composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist for the Woody Allen films Stardust Memories, Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Hannah and Her Sisters, Radio Days, Bullets Over Broadway, Everyone Says I Love You, Sweet and Lowdown, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Melinda and Melinda. His other film scores include French Quarter, Moonstruck, Scott Joplin, The Lemon Sisters and Alan and Naomi. His music has also been heard in Mask, Billy Bathgate, Two Weeks Notice, and other films. He was music director of The Movie Music of Woody Allen, which premiered at the Hollywood Bowl.[16]

Hyman composed and performed the score for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Company's Piano Man, and Twyla Tharp's The Bum's Rush for the American Ballet Theatre. He was the pianist/conductor/arranger in Tharp's Eight Jelly Rolls, Baker's Dozen, and The Bix Pieces and similarly arranged and performed for Miles Davis: Porgy and Bess, a choreographed production of the Dance Theater of Dallas. In 2007, his Adventures of Tom Sawyer, commissioned by the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts and produced for the stage by Toni Pimble of the Eugene Ballet, premiered in Eugene, Oregon.[17]

In the 1960s, Hyman recorded several pop albums on Enoch Light's Command Records. At first, he used the Lowrey organ, on the albums Electrodynamics (US No. 117), Fabulous (US No. 132), Keyboard Kaleidoscope and The Man from O.R.G.A.N. He later recorded several albums on the Moog synthesizer which mixed original compositions and cover versions, including Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman(Can No. 35),[18] and The Age of Electronicus (US No. 110).

The track "The Minotaur" from The Electric Eclectics (1969) charted in the US top 40 (US R&B Singles No. 27; Hot 100 No. 38)[19] (No. 20 Canada), becoming the first Moog single hit (although, as originally released on 45, it was labeled as the B-side to the shorter "Topless Dancers of Corfu"). Some elements from the track "The Moog and Me" (most notably the whistle that serves as the song's lead-in) on the same album were sampled by Beck for the track "Sissyneck" on his 1996 album Odelay. Hyman has been a guest performer at jazz festivals and concert venues. Around 1995, Hyman and his wife, Julia, moved permanently to Venice, Florida.[20]


As leader[edit]

Recorded Released Title Label Notes
1953 1953 September Song: Dick Hyman Plays the Music of Kurt Weill Proscenium Solo piano[21]
1953 1953 Conversation Piece: Dick Hyman Plays the Music of Noel Coward Proscenium Solo piano[22]
1953 2009 Autumn in New York: Dick Hyman Plays the Music of Vernon Duke Proscenium Solo piano[23]
1955? Ragtime Piano (MH 33-147) Waldorf Music Hall As Willie "The Rock" Knox And His Orchestra[21]
1955? Ragtime Piano (MH 33-151) Waldorf Music Hall As Willie "The Rock" Knox And His Orchestra[21]
1955? Swingin' Double Date Lion Trio[21]
1955? The Dick Hyman Trio Swings MGM Trio[21]
1956 1956 The Unforgettable Sound of the Dick Hyman Trio MGM Trio[24]
1956 Beside a Shady Nook MGM Trio[21]
1956 The Swinging Seasons MGM Trio[21]
1957 1957 Hi Fi Suite MGM With Joe Newman (trumpet), Thad Jones (trumpet), Benny Powell (trombone), Bill Barber (tuba), Jerome Richardson (alto saxophone, piccolo), Frank Wess (tenor saxophone, flute), Romeo Penque (clarinet, baritone saxophone), Phil Bodner (baritone saxophone, oboe), Don Elliott (vibraphone, percussion), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Eddie Safranski (bass), Osie Johnson (drums), Kenny Clarke (drums), Don Lamond (drums)[21]
1957 1957 60 Great All Time Songs - Volumes 1–6 MGM Quartet[21]
1957 1957 Dick Hyman & Harpsichord in Hi Fi MGM Trio and orchestra[21]
1958 Oh, Captain! MGM With various, including Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Art Farmer (trumpet), Tony Scott (reeds), Marilyn Moore, Jackie Paris and Osie Johnson (vocals)[25]
1958 1958 Gigi MGM Trio, with Eddie Safranski (bass), Don Lamond (drums)[26]
1958 1958 Knuckles O'Toole Plays the Greatest All-Time Ragtime Hits Grand Award (reissued by ABC in 1974) Trio (banjo and drums)
1960 After Six MGM Trio[21]
1960 1960 Strictly Organ-ic MGM Quintet[21]
1960 Provocative Piano Command With orchestra[27]
1960 Provocative Piano, Vol. 2 Command With orchestra[28]
1961 1961 Dick Hyman and His Trio Command Trio, with Joe Benjamin (bass), Osie Johnson (drums)[29][21]
1963 1963 Electrodynamics Command Quintet[21]
1963 Fabulous Command [21]
1963 1963 Moon Gas MGM [21]
1964 1964 Keyboard Kaleidoscope Command With various, including Everett Barksdale, Bucky Pizzarelli, Bob Haggart, Osie Johnson, the Ray Charles Singers[30]
1965 1965 The Man from O.R.G.A.N. Command [21]
1966 I'll Never Be the Same MGM With strings[21]
1966 1966 Happening! Command Hyman plays harpsichord[31]
1967 1967 Brasilian Impressions Command With various[32]
1968 1968 Mirrors Command [21]
1968 1968 Sweet Sweet Soul Command With Bob Haggart (electric bass), Bob Rosengarden (drums)[33]
1969 1969 Moog: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman Command Hyman plays Moog[34][35]
1969 1969 The Age of Electronicus Command [21]
1971 1971 The Sensuous Piano of "D" Project [34]
1972 Solo Piano Project Solo piano[21]
1972 1972 Grand Slam Project [21]
1973 2002 An Evening at the Cookery, June 17, 1973 JRB Solo piano; in concert[36]
1973 Ragtime, Stomps and Stride Project [34][21]
1974 1974 Genius at Play Monmouth Evergreen Solo piano[34][37]
1974 Some Rags, Some Stomps, and a Little Blues Columbia [34][21]
1974 1974 Let It Happen RCA As the Jazz Piano Quartet with Hank Jones, Marian McPartland and Roland Hanna
1975 Satchmo Remembered: The Music of Louis Armstrong at Carnegie Hall Atlantic With various; in concert[38]
1975 1975 Charleston Columbia With various[34][39][21]
1975 1975 Scott Joplin: The Complete Works for Piano RCA [21]
1977 Scott Joplin MCA With various, including Hank Jones (piano)[40]
1977 Themes and Variations on "A Child Is Born" Chiaroscuro Solo piano[34][41]
1977 1994 A Waltz Dressed in Blue Reference Trio, with Michael Moore (bass), Ron Traxler (drums)[42][21]
1978 1978 The Music of Jelly Roll Morton Smithsonian Some tracks solo piano; some tracks trio, with Bob Wilber (clarinet), Tommy Benford (drums); one track quartet; some tracks septet, with Wilber (clarinet), Warren Vaché (trumpet), Jack Gale (trombone), Marty Grosz (guitar, banjo), Major Holley (bass, tuba), Benford (drums)[43]
1978 1978 Come and Trip It New World [34]
1980 1980 Say It with Music World Jazz Quintet, with Pee Wee Erwin (trumpet), Bob Wilber (reeds), Milt Hinton (bass), Bobby Rosengarden (drums)[44]
1981 1981 Cincinnati Fats OVC-ATOS [21]
1981 1992 Live at Michael's Pub JazzMania Duo, with Roger Kellaway (piano); in concert[45]
1983 1983 Kitten on the Keys: The Piano Music of Zez Confrey RCA Solo piano[46]
1983 They Got Rhythm Jazz Club of Sarasota Duo, with Derek Smith (piano); live at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, Florida, February 9, 1983[45][47][21]
1983–1988 2017 Solo at the Sacramento Jazz Festivals Arbors [48]
1984 1984 Eubie Sine Qua Non Solo piano[49][21]
1985 1996 Fireworks Inner City Duo, with Ruby Braff (cornet); in concert[34][50]
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo MCA Film soundtrack[21]
1986 1986 Gulf Coast Blues Stomp Off Solo piano[51][21]
1987 1988 Manhattan Jazz Musicmasters Duo, with Ruby Braff[34][21]
1987 1987 Runnin' Ragged Pro Jazz Duo, with Stan Kurtis (violin)[52]
1987 2005 Stridemonster! Unisson Most tracks duo, with Dick Wellstood (piano); one track each of solo piano[53][21]
1988 At Chung's Chinese Restaurant Musical Heritage Society Solo piano; live at Chung's Chinese Restaurant, Cleveland, Ohio, September 26, 1985[54][21]
1989 1989 The Kingdom of Swing and the Republic of Oop Bop Sh'bam Musicmasters With Joe Wilder (trumpet), Warren Vaché (cornet), Urbie Green (trombone), Buddy Tate (clarinet, tenor sax), Derek Smith (piano), Milt Hinton (bass), Butch Miles (drums)[45][21]
1988 1988 Face the Music: A Century of Irving Berlin Musical Heritage Society Solo piano[55][21]
1988 1988 Moonstruck Capitol Film soundtrack[21]
1990 1990 Live from Toronto's Cafe Des Copains Music & Arts Solo piano; live at Cafe des Copains, Toronto, Canada, June, 1988[21]
1990 1990 Blues in the Night (Dick Hyman Plays Harold Arlen) Musicmasters Solo[34][21][45]
1990 Dick Hyman Plays Fats Waller Reference Solo piano[56][21]
1989 Music from My Fair Lady Concord Jazz Duo, with Ruby Braff (cornet)[57][21]
1990 1990 Music of 1937 Concord Solo piano; in concert[58][21]
1990 1991 Stride Piano Summit Milestone With Harry Sweets Edison (trumpet), Ralph Sutton, Jay McShann, Mike Lipskin (piano), Red Callender (bass), Harold Jones (drums)[45][21]
1990 Plays Duke Ellington Reference Solo piano[56][21]
1991 All Through the Night Musicmasters Solo piano; in concert[45][21]
1993 1996 Gershwin Songbook: Hyman Variations Musicmasters Solo piano[34][21]
1993 Dick Hyman/Ralph Sutton; Concord Duo Series, Vol. 6 Concord Duo, with Ralph Sutton (piano); in concert[45][21]
1994 1994 Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Some tracks solo piano; some tracks duo, with Marian McPartland (piano)[59][21]
1994 Ruby Braff and Dick Hyman Play Nice Tunes Arbors with Ruby Braff[21]
1994 The Piano Giants at Bob Haggart's 80th Birthday Party Arbors With Derek Smith and Ralph Sutton (piano), Bob Haggart (bass), Bobby Rosengarden (drums); in concert[56][21]
1994 1994 From the Age of Swing Reference Some tracks octet, with Joe Wilder (trumpet), Urbie Green (trombone), Phil Bodner (alto sax, clarinet), Joe Temperley (baritone sax), Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Butch Miles (drums); some tracks nonet, with Frank Wess (alto sax) added)[60]
1995 1996 Elegies, Mostly Gemini Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)[56]
1995 1996 Cheek to Cheek Arbors Trio, with Howard Alden (guitar), Bob Haggart (bass)[56]
1996 Just You, Just Me Sackville Duo, with Ralph Sutton (piano)[56]
1996? 1996 Swing Is Here Reference With Peter Appleyard (vibes), Ken Peplowski (clarinet), Randy Sandke (trumpet), Frank Wess (tenor sax), Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Jay Leonhart (bass), Butch Miles (drums); Nancy Marano (vocals) added on some tracks[34][61]
1998? In Recital Reference Solo piano; in concert[62]
1998 1998 Dick & Derek at the Movies Arbors Duo, with Derek Smith (piano)[56]
1998 1999 There Will Never Be Another You Jazz Connaisseur Solo piano; in concert[63]
2001? 2002 Barrel of Keys Jazz Connaisseur Duo, with Louis Mazetier (piano); in concert[64]
2001 2002 Forgotten Dreams Arbors Duo, with John Sheridan (piano)[56]
2003? 2003 What Is There to Say? Victrola Duo, with Ray Kennedy (piano)[65]
2003 2004 If Bix Played Gershwin Arbors With Tom Pletcher (cornet), David Sager (trombone), Dan Levinson (clarinet, C-melody sax), Vince Giordano (bass sax), Bob Leary (guitar, banjo, vocals), Ed Metz Jr (drums)[56]
2006? Playful Virtuosity Ryko Duo, with Meral Güneyman (piano)[66]
2006? 2007 Teddy Wilson in 4 Hands Echoes of Swing Most tracks duo, with Chris Hopkins (piano); one track each of solo piano[67]
2006? 2006 Solo Piano Variations on the Great Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein Jazz Heritage Society Solo piano[68]
2007 In Concert at the Old Mill Inn Sackville Solo piano; in concert[69]
2009? 2010 Danzas Tropicales Ryko with Meral Güneyman
2010 2012 You're My Everything Venus Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Chuck Redd (drums)[38]
2011? 2012 Late Last Summer Left Ear Duo, with Judy Hyman (violin)[70]
2013? Lock My Heart Red House Duo, with Heather Masse (vocals)[71]
2012 2013 ...Live at the Kitano Victoria Duo, with Ken Peplowski (clarinet, tenor sax); in concert[72]
2014 2015 House of Pianos Arbors Solo piano; in concert[73]
1992 2022 One Step to Chicago Rivermont with Peter Ecklund and Dick Sudhalter (cornet), Jon-Erik Kellso (trumpet), Dan Barrett (trombone), Kenny Davern and Dan Levinson (clarinet), Ken Peplowski (tenor saxophone), Marty Grosz and Howard Alden (banjo/guitar), Vince Giordano (tuba/bass saxophone), Bob Haggart and Milt Hinton (bass), Tony DeNicola and Arnie Kinsella (drums)

As sideman[edit]

With Ruby Braff

  • Bugle Call Rag (Jazz Vogue, 1976)
  • Fireworks (Inner City, 1985)
  • Music from South Pacific (Concord Jazz, 1991)
  • Very Sinatra (Red Baron, 1993)
  • A Pipe Organ Recital Plus One (Bellaphon, 1996)
  • Watch What Happens (Arbors, 2002)
  • You Brought a New Kind of Love (Arbors, 2004)

With Jim Cullum Jr.

  • New Year's All Star Jam (Pacific Vista, 1993)
  • Honky Tonk Train (Riverwalk, 1994)
  • Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule (Riverwalk, 1995)
  • Fireworks! Red Hot & Blues (Riverwalk, 1996)
  • American Love Songs (Riverwalk, 1997)

With Benny Goodman

  • Date with the King (Columbia, 1956)
  • Benny Goodman (Capitol, 1956)
  • Benny Goodman Plays Selections from the Benny Goodman Story (Capitol, 1956)

With Urbie Green

  • 21 Trombones (Project 3, 1967)
  • 21 Trombones Rock, Blues, Jazz, Volume Two (Project 3, 1969)
  • Green Power (Project 3, 1971)
  • Bein' Green (Project 3, 1972)
  • Oleo (Pausa, 1978)

With Enoch Light

  • Show Spectacular (Grand Award, 1959)
  • The Original Roaring 20's Volume 4 (Grand Award, 1961)
  • Enoch Light and the Glittering Guitars (Project 3, 1969)
  • Enoch Light Presents Spaced Out (Project 3, 1969)
  • Permissive Polyphonics (Project 3, 1970)

With Wes Montgomery

With Tony Mottola

  • Romantic Guitar (Command, 1963)
  • Heart & Soul (Project 3, 1966)
  • Guitar U.S.A. (Command, 1967)
  • Lush, Latin & Lovely (Project 3, 1967)
  • Roma Oggi - Rome Today (Project 3, 1968)
  • Warm, Wild and Wonderful (Project 3, 1968)
  • Tony Mottola's Guitar Factory (Project 3, 1970)
  • Tony Mottola and the Quad Guitars (Project 3, 1973)

With Flip Phillips

  • Flip Phillips Collates (Clef, 1952)
  • A Real Swinger (Concord Jazz, 1988)
  • Try a Little Tenderness (Chiaroscuro, 1993)
  • Flip Philllips Celebrates His 80th Birthday at the March of Jazz 1995 (Arbors, 2003)

With Doc Severinsen

  • Fever (Command, 1966)
  • Live! (Command, 1966)
  • The New Sound of Today's Big Band (Command, 1967)

With Bob Wilber

  • Soprano Summit (World Jazz, 1974)
  • Summit Reunion (Chiaroscuro, 1990)
  • Bufadora Blow-up (Arbors, 1997)
  • A Perfect Match (Arbors, 1998)
  • Everywhere You Go There's Jazz (Arbors, 1999)
  • A Tribute to Kenny Davern and 80th Birthday Salute to Bob Wilber (2009)

With others

As arranger[edit]

With Count Basie

With Trigger Alpert

With Flip Phillips

  • Try a Little Tenderness (Chiaroscuro, 1993)


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  71. ^ Campbell, Al. "Dick Hyman / Heather Masse: Lock My Heart". AllMusic. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  72. ^ Bilawsky, Dan (July 28, 2013). "Dick Hyman & Ken Peplowski: ...Live at the Kitano". All About Jazz.
  73. ^ Gelly, Dave (June 7, 2015). "Dick Hyman: House of Pianos Review – A Master of Jazz". The Guardian.

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