Dave McKenna

Dave McKenna (May 30, 1930 – October 18, 2008) was an American jazz pianist known primarily as a solo pianist and for his “three-handed” swing style. He was a significant figure in the evolution of jazz piano.

He was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, United States. At age 15, McKenna worked in big bands with Charlie Ventura (1949) and Woody Herman’s Orchestra (1950–51). He then spent two years in the military, in the Korea War, before returning to Ventura (1953–54). During his career he worked in swing and dixieland settings with Al Cohn, Eddie Condon, Stan Getz, Gene Krupa, Zoot Sims, Joe Venuti, and often with Bob Wilber and Bobby Hackett. McKenna released his first solo album in 1955. During the 1980s, he worked as a pianist at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

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