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Dave Grusin ( Robert David Grusin ) is an American pianist, arranger and composer of jazz and jazz fusion.
Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Grusin mentions his father, a classical violinist, as the true instigator of a musical career that began in the field of classical, an area where the young musician would deepen his studies at the University of Colorado. It was at the university that Grusin discovered his interest in jazz in the work of artists as diverse as Shorty Rogers, Shelly Mann, Dave Brubeck, Count Basie, Gerry Mulligan or Chet Baker, as well as playing with great artists such as Art Pepper, Terry Gibbs or Anita O’Day on her way through the institution. In 1959, he moved to New York to join the Manhattan School of Music, and is soon playing for Andy Williams, in whose band he meets drummer Larry Rosen, with whom he would establish a strong friendship and who would become his partner in the GRP stamp.
His solo career begins with Subways are For Sleeping, 1962, and Piano, Strings and Moonligh, the following year, which reflect the influences on the musician that exerted the work of Art Tatum, Bill Evans or Red Garland. Grusin had played with Terry Gibbs and Johnny Smith during his time as a student in Colorado, from 1959 to 1966 he worked as a pianist and musical director of the Andy Williams band, and it was from that time that he began his career as a band composer. sound for cinema and television. Inspired by Henry Mancini and Andre Previn, Grusin abandons his role as musical director of the Andy Williams Show in 1964, and composes the soundtrack for the Norman Lear / Bud Yorkin comedy “Divorce American Style” the following year. This marked the beginning of his career as a film composer, with around 30 soundtracks under his belt.
In 1960 he recorded with Benny Goodman, and, in the early ’60s, with a trio of hard bop that included Milt Hinton. He also played with a quintet that included Thad Jones and Frank Foster. Grusin made arrangements and recorded with Sarah Vaughan, Quincy Jones, and Carmen McRae in the early ’70s. He played electric keyboards with Gerry Mulligan and Lee Ritenour in the mid-’70s.
He helped found GRP Records, which became one of the best contemporary jazz and fusion companies, with recordings by artists such as The Rippingtons, Spyro Gyra, David Benoit, Lee Ritenour and Tom Scott. Grusin continued recording in the ’80s and’ 90s, in numerous projects, from fusion and pop to working with symphony orchestras. He also directed the GRP Big Band, in soundtracks like “The Fabulous Baker Boys”, and recording sessions in duo with his brother, Don, and Lee Ritenour.
In 2011, he made the live album and DVD “An Evening with Dave Grusin”, with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, interpreting themes of his entire career.
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