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Jazz pianist, teacher Sal Mosca dies

Aug. 6, 2007 at 8:55 AM   |   Comments

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Sal Mosca, a jazz pianist who played with greats such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis then left the limelight, died in White Plains, N.Y. He was 80.

Mosca, who died July 28 of complications from emphysema, who grew up emulating Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum, was one of the main proteges of improv guru Lennie Tristano, The New York Times reported Monday.

Mosca adopted Tristano’s course of marathon practice sessions and studying solos of a small number of jazz improvisers. He adhered to a select repertory of standard songs, usually playing only abstractions of the original melodies or substituting complex melodic lines over a song’s original harmonic structure.

Mosca performed for decades, but abandoned performing and recording in the 1980s.He lived in a commercial building he owned in downtown Mount Vernon, where he could teach up to 60 students a week and practice late into the night.

He gave up the piano altogether for four years ago during a bout of depression, he told the Times. Eventually he returned to teaching, jamming an public performances.

Mosca is survived by a daughter, Kathryn; two sons, Michael and Steven, and seven grandchildren.

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