[JPL] dick twardzik biography

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Sun May 31 22:56:19 EDT 2009

I want to draw your attention to a new biography of pianist Dick Twardzik by Jack Chambers entitled Bouncin' With Bartok, The Incomplete Works of Richard Twardzik. The Danvers, Massachusetts native died of a drug overdose in 1955 at the age of 24 when he was in Paris playing with Chet Baker.  He left behind a miniscule discography, including just one date as a leader for Pacific Jazz, studio sessions with Charlie Mariano, Serge Chaloff and Baker, and airchecks from Boston nightclub appearances with Charlie Parker and Allen Eager.  Despite this small output, Twardzik's legacy was considerably enhanced by the five, highly distinctive compositions he produced, and his playing which everyone from Baker to Herb Pomeroy to Cecil Taylor attests was ahead of its time. 

Chambers has done an exemplary job of pulling Twardzik's story together.  The book features a colorful array of relatives, musicians and artists who peopled the Boston scene in the '30's-'50's, and includes a folio of his father Henryk's paintings, several of which were portraits of his son.  Secondarily, the book serves as an excellent primer on the Boston jazz scene during these years.

It's published by the Mercury Press in Toronto.  www.themercurypress.ca

Tom Reney
Jazz à la Mode

NPR News and Music for Western New England

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tr at wfcr.org

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