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Blow by Blow
1940 Born in New York City, December 12th. At seven began studying classical piano with Constance Keene. After seven years, decided classical was not my forte. This was okay by my mother, Academy Award-winning lyricist Dorothy Fields.

1957 Senior in high school: became fanatical jazz enthusiast, especially crazed by Thelonious Monk.

1958 Entered Amherst College. Began playing in extracurricular jazz band, with first paid gigs at college parties.

1959 Spent three weeks at The School of Jazz in Lenox, MA. Faculty included: Modern Jazz Quartet, Bill Evans, Kenny Dorham, Max Roach, George Russell, Jimmy Giuffre. Fellow-students included Ornette Coleman, Do`n Cherry, Dave Baker, Steve Kuhn, Attila Zoller, Ran Blake.

1960 Took a year's leave from Amherst to study composition with George Russell. Returned to Lenox in summer. Students: Don Ellis, Steve Marcus.

1961 Russell recorded my tune "Lambskins" on his "Stratusphunk" album (Riverside Records). Returned to Amherst. In March, won "Best Pianist" award at Notre Dame Jazz Festival.

1962 Led a professional band for first time in Aspen, CO.

1963 Graduated from Amherst with degree in English.

1964 Moved to Indianapolis. Worked for Dave Baker, Jamey Aebersold. Co-composed, "I'm Taking the Day Off" which was part of the REAL JAZZ FOR THE FOLKS WHO FEEL JAZZ album.

1966 Three-month State Department tour of the Middle East and South Asia with combo from Indiana University.

1967 Returned to New York. Wrote "Theme and Deviations" (REAL JAZZ...).

1968 In July, went to work at ASCAP, monitoring broadcast tapes for program department to ensure proper credit for royalties. In October, got a phone call asking me to go to work for Buddy Rich Orchestra. Quit ASCAP that day, went to work that night. For fourteen months, toured with Buddy Rich. Best friends: Bob Magnusson (bass), Richie Cole (alto). First record date in June, 1969, live at Whiskey-a-GoGo in Los Angeles.

1970 Left Buddy Rich and returned to New York. Went to work part time as cab driver. Moved to Greenwich Village, got a piano. First heard Joni Mitchell record which was to be so influential. Wrote "Half Moon Bay" and "You're a Blossom" (REAL JAZZ...). Began working at Village Gate as intermission pianist and singers' accompanist for Monday night showcases.

1971-3 Toured Germany with Attila Zoller. Played regularly at Village Gate. With Lyn Christie, worked on forming steady group for first time. Didn't succeed, but through Lyn, met Dave Friedman (vibes). Randy Brecker also played a few gigs with us. Wrote "Municipal Anthem of Dry Dock Country" and "Regina's Terrible Tornado". Started working with Janet Lawson, the first singer I accompanied regularly.

1974-6 Second German tour with Attila Zoller. Played gigs with Janet Lawson, Richie Cole and Ted Curson. Worked as assistant editor at "Diversion" magazine. Free-lanced at the Tin Palace on The Bowery, West Boondock on 10th Avenue. Wrote "Scraight Ahead" and words to Richie Cole's "Harold's House of Jazz" (REAL JAZZ...) Wrote first radical reharmonization (of "Begin the Beguine"), later included on the BE SOMEBODY album. Last gig with Janet Lawson.

1976-8 Decided to de-emphasize freelance piano-playing and concentrate on composing. Took major step by forming my own band, and received encouragement from musicians, who usually found my writing a good challenge. Much rehearsing; few gigs. Wrote "Fanfares," "Muzak" and "Muscle Memory Hoedown" (on album of same name). After my version of Richie Cole's "Harold's House of Jazz" was recorded by Eddie Jefferson and Cole on the "Keeper of the Flame" LP (Muse Records), I decided I was a great bebop lyricist. Wrote words to Charlie Parker's "Moose the Mooche" and Chick Corea's "Captain Marvel" (REAL JAZZ...).

1979 A crucial year. Changed the personnel of my band completely, acquiring Roger Rosenberg, Bob Moses, and John D'earth. Wrote "Indianapolis Blues" (REAL JAZZ...) and "Bill Evans," recorded on THE HIGHEST STANDARDS. Wrote words to two Charlie Parker tunes, "Billie's Bounce"-which he called Eddie Jefferson, and "Bongo Beep," calling it "You've Proven Your Point." The latter was recorded by Mark Murphy on his "Bop for Kerouac" album from Muse Records. Michael Moriarty hired me to "music-direct" his cabaret act at Boltax in SoHo. Our musical rapport was such that I decided my best opportunity to compete professionally might be as a singers' accompanist. Later in the year, I accompanied Sylvia Syms, with Jay Leonhart on bass, at Boltax. I learned a lot from Sylvia. In the fall, I met Judy Kreston, the cabaret singer whom I was to accompany, not only on the piano, but in the life gig as well. Wrote "Static" and "It Was Blue When It Got Here".

1980 Started working with producer Barry Rogers and engineer Bernard Fox. Finished first set of commercially presentable masters. First gig with Judy Kreston. By now, I was pursuing several musical lines I thought were suitable: composer for small jazz combo, bebop lyricist and pianist for cabaret singers.

1981 In the summer, performed with my own band at the Kool Jazz Festival at SUNY in Purchase, New York. Palo Alto Records leased seven master tracks, which were released the following year as REAL JAZZ FOR THE FOLKS WHO FEEL JAZZ. Good reviews, for the most part.

1982 Doing lots of cabaret with Judy; and we made our first joint recording, HERE IN LOVE LIES THE ANSWER. Wrote "Don't Think of An Elephant," recorded for the BE SOMEBODY album. Played with Moriarty at The Cookery, and for that gig wrote the arrangement of "You'll Never Walk Alone" which appeared on THE HIGHEST STANDARDS. Wrote "A Portrait of Dave Baker," which came out on MUSCLE MEMORY HOEDOWN.

1983-5 Occasional gigs with band. Composed "Be Somebody" and "The Elephant Cools Out" in 1984. HIGHEST STANDARDS released on Plug to some really good reviews. Recorded the BE SOMEBODY CD. Recorded the second Kreston/Lahm project -- LIVE AT JAN WALLMAN'S.

1986-8 Work with Judy became more sophisticated, with unexpected medleys showing up in our performances. Wrote "There Must Be Some Mistake". John D'earth, Dave Friedman and Bob Moses moved out of NY. Personnel of band becomes subject to flux. Decided to go in new direction, without drums. Put together a group called Metric System with Roger Rosenberg on saxes, Scott Hardy on guitar, Chip Jackson on bass, self on piano. Abandoned Metric System in 1988, but started quartet featuring Thomas Chapin on flute and sax, Dennis Marks on bass and Ron Vincent on drums. Gigged at Angry Squire. Wrote lyric to Dexter Gordon's "McSplivens"; called it "Buyer Beware". Judy and I got a great review from Rex Reed in the New York Observer. By now, I was writing original material for our act.

1989-91 September 1st, 1990. Judy and I were married. Began to think about a Joni Mitchell instrumental project. Released BE SOMEBODY on Generation Records to mixed reviews. Wrote "It's All Relative -- Even Serenity". Recorded MUSCLE MEMORY HOEDOWN CD. In BMI Jazz Composers workshop, wrote "Theo," "Laughter" and "You're Late: Your Garbarek Down?," the last of which appeared on MUSCLE MEMORY HOEDOWN, a CD recorded in August, 1990. In February of 1991, began working two nights a week in the piano bar at "Judy's". As a result, acquired several singers as clients: I am now a cabaret, coach, accompanist, arranger, and musical director.

1992 Rehearsals for Joni project. Wrote "Is This My Dream?"

1993-6 In four sessions for Joni album, recorded "Blue Motel Room," "Shadows and Light," "Coyote," "Edith and the Kingpin," "Solid Love," "The Blonde in the Bleachers," "Song for Sharon" and "The Fiddle and the Drum". Two weeks at the Ballroom with Michael Moriarty. Wrote "Another Song About Strayhorn," "Early in the Morning," "San Diego Holiday," "Gingrich as a Second Language," three Latin-jazz pieces: "Okay, Ezra," " Emphatico" and "Vibeca. "

1997 Signed recording deal with Arkadia Records, with the first release being the Joni Mitchell Jazz Project.

1999 Arkadia Jazz releases Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell featuring Randy Brecker, Thomas Chapin, Mike LeDonne, Lew Tabackin, David Friedman and 13 other musicians. The album is received with great critical acclaim. In December, I recorded my second project for Arkadia Jazz, a mixture of more Joni Mitchell songs and some of my originals. This album features Randy Brecker, Vincent Herring, Ratzo Harris, Ron Vincent and Roger Rosenberg. It is scheduled for release in 2000.

1987 CHORD FARM (duo with Curtis Bahn)
1985 LIVE AT JAN WALLMAN'S w/Judy Kreston

1969 Buddy & Soul Buddy Rich
1975 Normal Martin Mull

David Lahm: Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell $9.98 71011
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David Lahm: More Jazz Takes on Joni Mitchell
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