Joe Bushkin

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Joe Bushkin
Birth nameJoseph Bushkin
BornNovember 7, 1916
New York City, New York, U.S.
OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 2004(2004-11-03) (aged 87)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.

Joe Bushkin (November 7, 1916 – November 3, 2004) was an American jazz pianist.

Born in New York City, Bushkin began his career by playing trumpet and piano with New York City dance bands, including Frank LaMare's Band at the Roseland Ballroom in Brooklyn. He joined Bunny Berigan's band in 1935, played with Eddie Condon from 1936-37, and with Max Kaminsky and Joe Marsala, before rejoining Berigan in 1938.[1][2] He then left to join Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band in 1939. From the late 1930s through to the late 1940s he also worked with Eddie Condon on records, radio and television. After service in World War II he worked with Louis Armstrong, Bud Freeman and Benny Goodman.[1]

He married Francice Netcher, elder sister of socialite Mollie Wilmot. The couple had four children – Nina, Maria, Terasa, and Christina. They lived in Santa Barbara, California, on a ranch.

His best-known composition might be "Oh! Look at Me Now",[1] with John DeVries, written when he worked in Tommy Dorsey's band. That song would become Frank Sinatra's second hit and one of his most enduring songs right after "Polkadots & Moonbeams."

One of Bushkin's television appearances was on a thirty-minute Judy Garland musical special produced for the General Electric Theater which aired on April 8, 1956 on the CBS Television Network. According to Coyne Steven Sanders, author of the book Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show, Bushkin was a last-minute replacement for the classic pianist Leonard Pennario. On that program, he accompanied Garland on piano as she sang the songs Last Night When We Were Young and Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries. (Sanders, Coyne Steven, Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show pgs. 20-21 - Zebra Books - Kensington Publishing Company).

In his 60s, Bushkin's semi-retirement was ended by an offer from Bing Crosby for them to tour together in 1976 and 1977; Bushkin also appeared on Crosby's 1975 Christmas TV special with Fred Astaire. He also performed in a concert series at New York's St. Regis hotel in 1984 that celebrated his 50 years in show business.[1]

Bushkin died in Santa Barbara, California, in 2004. "He had hoped to live to 88, as a piano had 88 keys."


With Ruth Brown

External Links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Down Beat's 88 Keys to Fame.
  3. ^ "Joe Bushkin".