Don Grolnick

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Don Grolnick (September 23, 1947 – June 1, 1996) was an American jazz and pop pianist and composer, most noteworthy for his work with artists such as Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Steely Dan, David Sanborn, Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, Billy Cobham, JD Souther, Marcus Miller, Bob Mintzer, Dave Holland and Bette Midler. He was a member of the groups Steps Ahead and Dreams, both with Michael Brecker. He also played on albums by the Brecker Brothers and Ten Wheel Drive.[1]

Grolnick was born in Brooklyn, and grew up in Levittown, New York and began his young musical life playing the accordion, but later switched to piano. His interest in jazz began as a child when his father took him to a Count Basie concert, and soon after they also saw Erroll Garner perform at Carnegie Hall.

He went on to study at Tufts University with a major in philosophy, but his interest in music remained. After he left Tufts, Grolnick remained in Boston and teamed up with his boyhood friend Stuart Shulman on bass and guitarist Ken Melville to form the jazz rock band Fire & Ice. They opened for bands such as B.B. King, The Jeff Beck Group and the Velvet Underground at Boston clubs like the Boston Tea Party and The Ark. This was Grolnick's first foray into rock and blues as a performer, and he began to write within the medium as well. Grolnick moved back to New York in 1969 where he joined Melville in the jazz fusion band "D", which also provided backup for Andy Warhol superstar Ultra Violet.

Grolnick died on June 1, 1996 from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He was 48 years old.


As leader[edit]

  • Hearts and Numbers (1985; Hip Pocket; then VeraBra records)
  • Weaver of Dreams (1989; Blue Note Records)
  • Nighttown (1992; Blue Note Records)
  • Medianoche (1995; Pony Canyon; then Warner Bros Records)
  • London Concert (2000; Fuzzy Music)
  • Steps Ahead - Smokin' in the Pit (1999; NYC Records)
  • Steps Ahead - A Collection: Step by Step/Paradox (2000; NYC Records)

As sideman[edit]

With George Benson

With Ron Carter

With Art Farmer

With Hubert Laws

With Don Sebesky

With John Scofield

Still Warm (Gramavision, 1968)


External links[edit]