Tete Montoliu

Vicenç Montoliu i Massana, better known as Tete Montoliu (28 March 1933 – 24 August 1997) was a Spanish jazz pianist from Catalonia, Spain. Born blind, he learnt braille music at age seven. His styles varied from hard bop, through afro-Cuban, world fusion, to post bop. He recorded with Lionel Hampton in 1956 and played with saxophonist Roland Kirk in 1963. He also worked with leading American jazz musicians who toured in, or relocated to Europe including Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Lucky Thompson, and Anthony Braxton. Tete Montoliu recorded two albums in the US, and recorded for Enja, SteepleChase Records, and Soul Note in Europe.

Montoliu was born blind, in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain, and died in the same city. He was the only son of Vicenç Montoliu (a professional musician) and Àngela Massana, a jazz enthusiast, who encouraged her son to study piano. Montoliu’s earliest piano teaching took place under the tutelage of Enric Mas at the private school for blind children he attended from 1939 to 1944. In 1944, Montoliu’s mother arranged for Petri Palou to provide him with formal piano lessons.

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