Noted jazz pianist Anderson dead at 81

Feb. 10, 2008 at 6:20 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Jazz pianist Chris Anderson, whose sophisticated harmonies earned him prestige in his field, has died in New York at the age of 81.

The New York Times said Sunday that Anderson, whose works heavily influenced jazz great Herbie Hancock, died of complications of a stroke last Monday.

Known for his improvisational abilities, Anderson was able to create impromptu harmonic sequences on his piano despite being born with brittle bone disease and limited vision.

While Anderson was completely blind by the age of 20 due to cataracts, he taught himself the piano and earned spots alongside such musical visionaries as Charlie Parker and Dinah Washington.

Despite his fame among the jazz community, Anderson's few studio albums did not earn a widespread distribution and therefore never reached the notoriety of many of his fellow performers.

Yet the Times said Anderson's occasional live performances always drew a crowd consisting of close friends and loyal fans.

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