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In the 1930s, three-year-old Willie Metcalf found a piano at a Detroit boy’s home and began to teach himself to play. Proving himself to be a child prodigy, by the mid 1940s, Metcalf was already an adolescent playing professionally in Detroit, New York, and Chicago, with saxophone legends such as Sonny Stitt and Stanley Turrentine. In New Orleans he headed his own groups at spots like the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop, Snug Harbor, the Funky Butt, Donna’s, and the Showcase Lounge.

After years as a Jazz musician, educator, and philanthropic entrepreneur, Willie relocated to New Orleans in 1975, where he mentored many future stars (including Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terrance Blanchard and Donald Harrison) through a program he called the Academy of Black Arts. He taught young local musicians the rules of bebop, said to be the most difficult of all the jazz genres.

In the movie Ray, Metcalf played the old man who taught a young Ray Charles to play piano. It was a perfect last role for the man who mentored, taught and gave spots in his band to a generation of aspiring New Orleans musicians.

Until his death at age 74 in 2004, Metcalf, was more than a pianist and teacher. He was involved—he was on the scene. He could pop up almost anywhere, a briefcase under his arm, new ideas brewing in his mind, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. As Metcalf would put it, he was one of the cats.

This album, “Moods”, is a selection of works from great composers: George Gershwin, Miles Davis, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Michael Legrand, Richie Greig, Ellen Max, and Shad A. Rober.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WATCH WHAT HAPPENS

SUMMERTIME

I GOT RHYTHM

EMBRACEABLE YOU

BLUE MOON

J.P. BLUES

FOUR

NIGHT AND DAY

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS?

POINCIANA

 

 

 
 
   

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