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Tommy Flanagan Trio

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The Tommy Flanagan Trio (with bassist Wilbur Little and drummer Elvin Jones) released their first album, Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas, in 1957. As an accompanist, Flanagan worked with Ella Fitzgerald from 1963 to 1965 and 1968 to 1978. Beginning in 1975, Flanagan began once again to perform and record as a leader. He continued to work with other players, however, forming a trio with Tal Farlow and Red Mitchell, among other projects.

Flanagan’s style was both modest and exceptionally musical. He embodied many of the most important qualities associated with jazz: swing, harmonic sophistication, melodic invention, bluesy feel and humour. Interestingly, he appeared on a number of highly innovative albums. (His awkward solo on the extremely fast and harmonically complex title-track of Giant Steps is a rare instance on record of the usually unflappable pianist being caught off-guard.)[2]

Tommy Flanagan is mentioned by Japanese Author Haruki Murakami in the short story, Chance Encounter, in which he describes his experiences at a Tommy Flanagan performance.

During his career, Flanagan was nominated for four Grammy Awards — two for Best Jazz Performance (Group) and two for Best Jazz Performance (Soloist).

He died on 16 November 2001, of an arterial aneurysm.[1]

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