Harold Mabern

An excellent hard bop pianist, Harold Mabern has remained a highly regarded performer since emerging from the Memphis, Tennessee jazz and R&B scene of the 1950s. Much like fellow Memphis area pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr., Mabern developed a commanding style that combined harmonic and modal sophistication with an impressive technical virtuosity.

Born in Memphis in 1936, Mabern initially started out on the drums before switching to piano. By his teens he was playing locally, often sharing the stage with such fellow up-and-comers as George Coleman, Charles Lloyd, and Booker Little. Although largely self-taught, after high school he moved to Chicago, where he did receive some private training. From there, he moved to New York City, where he found work recording with saxophonist Jimmy Forrest as well as Walter PerkinsMJT+3 alongside fellow Memphis native Frank Strozier. More high-profile...

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