[JPL] dick twardzik biography

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Sun May 31 23:56:38 EDT 2009

Tom Reney wrote:
> 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

Thanks for the tip, Tom. I'll try to track down a copy soon.

I remember recording some comments from Herb Pomeroy about Dick. He 
commented on how much of a loss it was. He said Twardzik was trying to 
clean himself up in Boston when he got the offer to travel with Chet to 
Europe. Baker was a known to be a drug user and Twardzik's friends in 
Boston urged him not to take the gig, according to Herb.

Eric Jackson
Monday - Thursday 8 pm - mid.
WGBH 89.7

> Tom Reney
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