The Pace Report

Season 2011 Episode 11.14.11

The Pace Report: "The RoMance of the Keys" The Junior Mance Interview

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Pianist Junior Mance has backed some of the most prolific jazz musicians during his 60 years in the business. The Evanston, Illinois native was brought up around music what seems all of his life. Junior's father owned a piano and asked him if he could take lessons and by age 10 he was playing professionally. While he was a teenager he would begin to develop his chops as a diverse jazz pianist playing both early blues and popular music during the late 1930's into the mid-1940's. Backing musical greats like Gene Ammons and Lester Young. In 1951 Mance was drafted into the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky where he met Julian "Cannonball" Adderly who was then the leader of the 36th Army Band. The two formed a partnership that later ended in him reuniting with him in Chicago when Adderly formed his first working band. Junior recorded and stayed with Cannonball's group for a year. After being discharged from the Army, Mance returned to his hometown of Chicago where he became a in-demand session musician backing the likes of Dinah Washington, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Stitt, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. At the suggestion and support of producer and promoter Norman Granz, Junior formed his first group The Junior Mance Trio which featured Ben Tucker on bass and Bobby Thomas on drums. Throughout the years Junior has never slowed down and continues to tour and record. His latest disc "Letter From Home" was recorded live at Cafe Loup in New York City and features his quartet: Hide Tanaka on bass, Kim Garey on drums, Ryan Anesimi on tenor sax, and Andrew Hadro on baritone saxophone. This recording showcases the blues based stride piano style that has been Junior's signature trademark for over 60 years. The International Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee plays every Sunday at the Cafe Loup in New York City. Music fans can reach out to Junior at website at There you can order his latest disc and find out his upcoming tour dates.moreless

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