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Happy Birthday Junior Mance

Junior Mance


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The veteran pianist is heard at his most soulful


Pianist Julian Clifford Mance, Jr. was born on Oct. 10, 1928 in Sept. 25, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois.

Always known as Junior, he began playing piano when he was 5, started playing gigs at 10 (back in 1938), and regularly performed in Chicago clubs as a teenager.

In his career, the pianist had major associations with Gene Ammons (1947-49 and on and off for decades), Lester Young, Dinah Washington (1954-56), Cannonball Adderley (1956-58), Dizzy Gillespie (1959-60) and the Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis/Johnny Griffin Quintet (1960-61)

Since that time, Mance has mostly been featured leading trios, with occasional appearances with all-star groups and, once in awhile, as an unaccompanied soloist.

While Junior Mance is a masterful bop, swing and blues player, there is always a sincere and powerful soulfulness to his playing.

That quality is certainly true in this version of “Jubilation,” performed in 2002 at a concert in Stuttgart, Germany.

- Scott Yanow

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