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Joe Albany


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Joe Albany (January 24, 1924 – January 12, 1988) was a jazz pianist. It is remarked on his being among the few white pianists to have played with Charlie Parker. He is considered an important figure in jazz, having been one of the early pianists.

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he had studied piano as a child and by 1943 he was working on the West Coast in Benny Carter’s orchestra. In 1946, he was playing with the likes of Parker and Miles Davis. He continued for a few years afterward and appeared on a Warne Marsh album in 1958, despite having battled a heroin addiction for most of the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, he was living in seclusion in Europe. He also had several unsuccessful marriages in the period. He returned to jazz in the 1970s and produced a few albums. He died in New York City in 1988, of upper respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at 63 years old.

He was the focus of a documentary in 1980 titled Joe Albany … A Jazz Life and his daughter Amy Jo wrote the memoir Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood concerning him.

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