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Harry Pickens, Pianist

Harry Pickens is an improvisational pianist, an educator, and a visionary. He has performed internationally with many of the finest artists in the jazz field, including Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Milt Jackson, and Freddie Hubbard. An alumnus of Davidson College and Rutgers University, Harry blends an active performance career—which has taken him to 17 countries on four continents—with a deep passion for making a difference as a teacher, consultant, and professional speaker.

Harry’s professional career as a pianist began in 1980, when he was chosen to participate in the first National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Artists-In-Schools program. In the single semester he spent in the quiet southern New Jersey town of Salem, sharing the magic, beauty, and intricacy of jazz with students, parents, and community, his residency received national recognition for excellence in arts outreach. The next several years found him in high demand, freelancing with dozens of the world’s top jazz musicians and performing in concert venues from Avery Fisher Hall, Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, and Walker Arts Center to legendary jazz clubs like the Village Vanguard, Sweet Basil’s, The Village Gate, and the Café Montmartre.

In addition to the concert and club crowds, Harry’s audience has included the more than 10,000 aspiring jazz artists who have experienced his dynamic performances and inspiring workshops at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Music Camps, where he has served as a core faculty member for the past 14 years. Harry also has been featured on numerous television and radio broadcasts throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio and KET’s own In Performance at the Governor’s Mansion, where he appeared as a member of the Mike Tracy Quartet. His recordings include performances with Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, an album titled Out of the Blue for Blue Note Records, and two solo piano CDs recorded live on the DoubleTime Jazz label.

Program 436

Jazz pianist Harry Pickens performs in the studio and talks about his residencies, and Susan McNeese Lynch shares a project from the Pleiades Theatre Company. (#436)


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