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Seltzer circa 1960
|Birth name||Stanley Wilson Seltzer|
November 8, 1927|
Aurora, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||August 1, 2000
|Associated acts||Carl Frederick Tandberg, Red Mitchell|
Stanley Wilson Seltzer (November 8, 1927 – August 1, 2000) was a jazz pianist.
He was born in Aurora, Illinois, on November 8, 1927.
Seltzer was born musically gifted. He began studying piano at the age of four. He had the ability to hear something and play it back. For several years he fooled his teachers into thinking that he could read music. At some point his ability was discovered, and he had to do intensive remedial work to learn to read music. He later remarked that it was difficult for him as a student to start over and learn to read music after several years of successful deception and progress.
Seltzer excelled musically to the point that he was accepted as a student of Vladimir Horowitz, the Russian concert pianist. He said that he studied with Horowitz for about a year, remarking that Horowitz was a disciplined taskmaster, often pushing him to his limits. In retrospect, he viewed Horowitz as a brilliant pianist, and his own discipline and quest for perfection may have come from Horowitz. He attended DePaul University in Chicago but did not graduate.
During his early years he played many venues in Chicago. In 1951 he moved to Hollywood, California. West Coast Jazz was developing, and many musicians from popular big bands and the local movie studios would meet to play new big band arrangements. Seltzer contributed arrangements and rehearsed with bands. He worked in Los Angeles until 1954 when he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. He played local venues and backed many acts that passed through Las Vegas. In 1957 he moved to Los Angeles, which became his home for the rest of his career. It was in 1957 that he cut his first and only album on the Hi-Fi label.
Seltzer was an easy-going person. In moments of musical frustration, a heavy sigh would precede his often-used phrase, "the questionable rewards of mimicry."
Players that he held in high esteem from his own era included Oscar Peterson and Charlie Parker, along with later players like Herbie Hancock. He died on August 1, 2000 at the age of 73, most likely in Tucson, Arizona.
In 1957 in Los Angeles, Selzer made his only album. It included the songs Autumn in New York, Blue Moon, Cheek to Cheek, Crissy's Blues, Easy to Love, A Foggy Day, Have You Met Miss Jones, Let's Fall in Love, Prelude to a Kiss, Speak Low, The Way You Look Tonight, and You Don't Know What Love Is.