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Don Pullen


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Don Pullen (December 25, 1941 - April 22, 1995) was an American jazz pianist and organist.

Don Pullen developed an extended technique for the piano and a strikingly individual style, post-bop and modern, but retaining a strong feeling for the blues. He produced acknowledged masterworks of jazz in a range of formats and styles, crossing and mixing genres long before this became almost commonplace. By chance, unfortunately for his future commercial success if not for his musical development, his first contact on arriving on the New York scene was with the free players of the 1960s, with whom he recorded. It was some years later before his abilities in more straight ahead jazz playing, as well as free, were revealed to a larger audience. The variety in his music made him difficult to pigeonhole, but he always displayed a vitality that at first hearing could shock but would always engross and delight his audience.

Don Gabriel Pullen was born (on 25th December 1941 not in 1944 as sometimes said) and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, USA. Growing up in a musical family, he learned the piano at an early age, played and worked with the choir in his local church, and was heavily influenced by his cousin, professional jazz pianist Clyde “Fats” Wright. He had some lessons in classical piano but knew little of jazz, being mainly aware of church music and the blues. Don sought to play in a very fast style and managed to develop his own unorthodox technique allowing him to execute extremely fast runs while maintaining the melodic line.


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  • kaly_

    Birhday! 70 !!!

    25 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Theeboon


    24 Sep 2011 Reply
  • hollabackitsobi

    Criminally underrated. Just amazing. No coincidence that my two favorite Mingus albums, "Changes One/Two", have him as the featured pianist.

    30 Jun 2011 Reply
  • TheBladeRunner_

    Breakthrough is really a great album.

    14 May 2011 Reply
  • munk77436

    Hey everyone, looking to expand our network of great underground/experimental music fans, check us out at Thanks!

    7 Apr 2011 Reply
  • jakespicer

    Oh god, this is amazing

    9 Mar 2011 Reply
  • hollabackitsobi

    *Disc 3

    5 Sep 2010 Reply
  • hollabackitsobi

    Oh lawdy so many people missing out. He plays those glissando runs up and down the keyboard as if they were singular notes, bending and twisting them at his whim. His classical influences really shows on the last two tracks on Disc 2 of his Mosaic Select box set. It's like he's extemporaneously composing a piano concerto right there. Amazing musician.

    5 Sep 2010 Reply

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