Clyde Hart
b. 1910, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, d. 19 March 1945. After working as pianist and arranger with the Jap Allen outfit, a leading territory band of the early '30s, Hart spent the second half of the decade in numerous ensembles. A solid performer with particular ability as an accompanist, Hart was in great demand and played with many of the oustanding jazz artists of the period. Among them were McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Andy Kirk, Red Allen, Billy Holiday, Stuff Smith, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Lionel Hampton and Frankie Newton. In the early '40s Hart was with various bandleaders, including John Kirby and Wilber De Paris but had begun to take an interest in the new developments in jazz. He adjusted his style to accommodate the needs of bebop soloists, one of the first of the swing era pianists to do so, and subsequently played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, whose first studio session together was under Hart's leadership. One of the usually unsung stalwarts of jazz, whose musical personality kept him very much in the background, Hart played an important part in the transition from swing to bop.However, he was unable to build upon his important early work in this area as he fell victim to tuberculosis and died in March 1945.

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