In November 1944, Marmarosa joined Artie Shaw's combo, known as the Gramercy Five, that also featured guitarist Barney Kessel and fellow Pittsburgher, trumpet player Roy Eldridge. He recorded as a sideman in the late 1940s, notably with Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Howard McGhee. He also featured in Gene Norman's Just Jazz concerts, and in 1947 won Esquire magazine's New Star (piano) award. His recordings with Charlie Parker in 1946 in Hollywood are regarded as some the finest Jazz records ever made. Marmarosa recorded a 78-rpm single for Savoy Records on July 21, 1950. The recording featured Marmarosa's trio, with Thomas Mandrus on bass and Joe "Jazz" Wallace on drums.
The four tunes recorded for the session were reissued by Savoy on the double album, The Modern Jazz Piano Album (1980). After 1950, his only recordings were a 1961 session for Argo Records under the supervision of Chicago producer Jack Tracy (Dodo's Back!) and a 1962 Chicago studio date featuring him in trio and, with Gene Ammons, quartet settings (available as Prestige CD Jug and Dodo). He continued to perform in Pittsburgh, albeit irregularly, and a CD containing amateur recordings of his performances has been issued by Uptown Records. His low profile has been attributed to mental illness: Marmarosa was drafted in 1954, given electric shock treatment, and discharged in poor psychological condition. Marmarosa last performed in public at the Colony Restaurant in Pittsburgh in 1968. Despite his intermittent career, he is generally considered to have been in the top rank of jazz pianists.
At the time of his death, Marmarosa resided at the VA Medical Center in Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, Pittsburgh, occasionally playing piano and organ for residents and guests of the center. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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