Jazz Pianist at 85 Gets Big Break

| October 31, 2012 | Reply

This is a follow up to “Am I too old to learn…”  Follow the link to the NPR story about 85 year old jazz pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop.  There you’ll find several sound clips of his piano playing…  “Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked… “

Jazz Pianist at 85 Gets Big Break

 December 10, 2011

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

Another chance encounter with a busted piano has now led Boyd Lee Dunlop to record and release his first album, at the age of 85. Brendon Bannon, a documentary photographer by trade, is the album’s producer.

“We met when I went into the nursing home where Boyd’s living, in Buffalo, to talk to the doctors there about doing a photo project. Boyd was sitting down in the waiting area also, and we struck up a conversation really quickly,” Bannon says. “He told me about his piano playing and invited me down to the cafeteria to listen to him play. I looked at the piano, and there were keys broken off of it … It didn’t look well. But Boyd was wrestling some beautiful sounds out of it.”

Here, Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with Bannon and Dunlop about Dunlop’s debut album, Boyd’s Blues.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/10/143388964/a-jazz-pianist-gets-his-big-break-at-age-85

If you’ve been wondering if it’s too late to get started on the piano, think again.  

Category: In The News

Leave a Reply