Grusin, Dave (1934—)

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Grusin, Dave (1934—)

Combining classical music training, jazz virtuosity, and a popular culture sensibility, Dave Grusin has become one of the most prolific composers of the late twentieth century. Born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, Grusin was a classical piano major at the University of Colorado. But he had an affinity for jazz and played with such visiting artists as Art Pepper and singer Anita O'Day. After moving to New York to pursue an academic career, Grusin found a job touring behind Andy Williams. He became Williams' musical director and moved to Los Angeles to work on The Andy Williams Show. Grusin left the show in 1964 to score the Norman Lear/Bud Yorkin film, Divorce American Style. Since then, Grusin has been one of Holly-wood's premier composers. Nominated for eight Academy Awards for his scores for such films as Heaven Can Wait, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, and The Fabulous Baker Boys, Grusin won an Oscar for The Milagro Beanfield War. His work is also familiar to television audiences—he wrote the theme songs for Good Times, Maude, Baretta, and St. Elsewhere. Despite his cinematic successes, Grusin has remained true to his jazz roots. Highly respected in the jazz community, his successful recording and performing career has spanned three decades and he has won ten Grammy Awards, making him a modern day musical Renaissance man.

—Victoria Price

Further Reading:

Carr, Ian, et al. Jazz: The Rough Guide. London, The Rough Guides, Ltd., 1995.