Tommy Flanagan

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Tommy Flanagan


For the Record

Bebop Disciple

New Horizons in New York City

Back With Ella

Selected discography


One of the consummate members of Detroits post-World War II jazz scene, pianist Tommy Flanagan career has taken him from gifted sideman to critically acclaimed solo artist. A reticent man who reserves few words concerning his own art, Flanagan expresses instead through his music depth and articulation un-equaled by most contemporary jazz pianists. As Stuart Nicholson observed in Jazz: The Modern Resurgence, Flanagan is one of the few artists in jazz able to make a convincing statement every time he recorded. With over forty years of experience accompanying gifted singers and instrumentalists, Flanagan has helped elevate modern jazz into high musical art form.

Born in the Detroit neighborhood of Conant Gardens on March 16, 1930, Tommy Lee Flanagan grew up the youngest child of Johnson Sr., a postman, and Ida Mae Flanagan. Both admirers of music, Flanagans father sang in a quartet and his mother taught herself to read music. A strict disciplinarian, Flanagans father instilled in his children the importance of character and personal values. He kept us in check, recalled Flanagan in Whitney Balliets American Musicians: Fifty-Six Portraits in Jazz. He had a way of sending us to the basement, of taking privileges away. But he showed us all the things of how to be a good person. At age six Flanagan was given a clarinet as a Christmas present; after learning to read music on the instrument, he performed in a family band. Failing to develop an affinity for the woodwind, he sat down at the family piano, and by age ten began to imitate the playing of his older brother, Johnson Jr., a professional pianist. Around this time, he also began taking formal piano lesson from Gladys Dillard. Flanagan spoke with David Rosenthal for the book Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965 about this first musical instructor, who, he recalled, taught him correct pianist attackhow to finger correctly and use the tips of my fingers.

Though Mrs. Dillard taught him the music of Bach and Chopin, the young Flanagan remained drawn to the sound of jazz. From recordings his brothers brought home, he heard the piano styles of Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, and Bud Powell. Without the knowledge of his parents, he accompanied his brother on nightclub dates, performing on clarinet and saxophone, and spent evenings listening to jazz outside local nightspots. By invitation of bebop pianist Phil Hill, he entered Detroits legendary Blue Bird Inn at age sixteen, sitting in with Hills house band on pianountil being chased out of the club by owner Robert Du Bois.

In the 1940s Flanagan benefitted from the excellent music programs of the Detroit public schools. At Northern High School, his peers included such noted area musicians as alto saxophonist Sonny Red and pianist

For the Record

Born Tommy Lee Flanagan on March 16, 1930, in Detroit, Ml; son of Johnson, Sr. (a postal worker) and Ida Mae Flanagan; married, 1960; wifes name, Ann (divorced, early 1970s); married, 1976; wifes name, Diana; children (first marriage): Tommy, Jr., Rachel, Jennifer, Ann (deceased, 1980).

At age six learned to read music on the clarinet; age ten began formal keyboard training; six years later performed dates and sat in at local clubs in Detroit; became a professional musician after graduating from high school; performed with the band of Rudy Rutherford and subsequently backed singer Bobby Caston; around 1947, cofounded a trio with guitarist Kenny Burrell and bassist Alvin Jackson; 1953 performed in Billy Mitchells house band at Blue Bird Inn; drafted into the U.S. Army and served overseas in Korea; returned to Detroit and played local clubs until leaving for New York City in 1956; recorded first date under own name 1956; performed trombonist J.J. Johnsons band 1956-1957; recorded with John Coltrane 1959, and Coleman Hawkins and Wes Montgomery in 1960; pianist with Ella Fitzgeralds band, 1963-1965; performed a year with Tony Bennett, mid-1960s; rejoined Fitzgerald as pianist and music director, 19681978; pursued solo career, 1980.

Selected Awards: Thelonica was voted by the Village Voice as one the best albums of 1982; Billboard selected Jazz Poet as one of the ten best records of 1990; Flanagan also won first place in the readers polls of Down Beat and Jazz Times in 1990; American Jazz Master fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, 1996.

Address: Record company Verve Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019.

Roland Hanna. In an interview with author Michael Ullman for Jazz Lives: Portraits in Words and Pictures, Flanagan recalled the impact of his school music instructors: They took an interest in kids who showed talent. They pushed them on. They would teach you basics. There were even good teachers in the intermediate schools.

After graduating from high school, Flanagan ended his formal training with Gladys Dillard and turned to performing as a regular member of Detroits vibrant jazz scene. He played dates with the band of Rudy Rutherford at the Parrot Lounge, and accompanied his first singer, Bobby Caston, through whom he met pianist Art Tatum. Around 1947, Flanagan formed a Nat King Cole-style trio with guitarist Kenny Burrell and bassist Alvin Jackson. With Burrell doubling on vocals, the trio performed at dances and parties. When not playing parties or clubs, Flanagan practiced at the family homes of Burrell, Hugh Lawson, and fellow pianist Barry Harris.

Bebop Disciple

Though he listened to various styles of jazz piano, Flanagans primary musical influence emerged from the modernist sounds of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. We were crazy about Charlie Parker and Dizzy at that time, explained Flanagan in Jazz Spoken Here: Conversations with Twenty-Two Musicians. They came to Detroit quite a bit. It was like we religiously went to see them. Parker and Gillespie, he added, in Jazz Times, opened our ears to what was new. Years earlier he had stood outside the screen door of the El Sino Club to hear the sound of Parkers horn. Influenced by Parkers innovative single lines, Flanagan later developed what he termed a Parker horn style of piano. A fervent follower of the Parker school, Flanagan, unlike many other aspiring jazzmen, refused to play side jobs which required the performance of commercial music. Because of the popularity of barrelhouse blues and other forms of stage entertainment, many clubs did not cater to the more obscure sounds of bebop. In 1949, the Michigan Chronicle announced Tommy is laid off.. .How can a man with his ability not find work. Detroit saxophonist George Benson described Flanagan, in a private interview, as a brilliant musician, an extremist, who opposed any form of entertainment which demeaned his modernist artistry.

In 1953 Flanagan performed with numerous Detroit jazzmen including trumpeter Thad Jones and saxophonist Billy Mitchell at the Blue Bird Inn. Describing his experience at the Blue Bird in the Detroit News, Flanagan stated that it was a great time. Thad was writing all these original things. The music was played such a high caliber of musicianship. The people that used to visit there were important people. That same year, his musical career was interrupted by his induction into the U.S. Army. After training at Fort Leonard, Missouri, he received instruction as a motion-picture operator, and was sent to the Korean port city of Kunsan. With no desire to join the military, he described the experience in Balliets American Musicians as a nightmare time.

Returning to Detroit, Flanagan resumed his career playing in local clubs like Kliens Showbar, the Crystal Show Bar, and the Rouge Lounge. He also attended Tuesday night concerts held by a private musicians collective, the New World Music Society. The societys rented Woodward Avenue location, the New World Stage, was an upstairs room which featured the finest musicians in the city such as Kenny Burrell (the organizations president), Yusef Lateef, Donald Byrd, and Barry Harris.

By the mid-Fifties, Flanagan sought to further his career outside the local scene. As he explained in Down Beat, Most of the opportunities had been exhausted in Detroit and it was time for a change. Invited to travel to New York City by Burrell, who had made a number of connections with prominent New York-based musicians, Flanagan left for the East Coast in 1956. In a live interview with Detroit radio host Ed Love, Burrell recalled the occasion: I called my friend Tommy Flanagan one day and said, Look, Im going to move to New York in a couple of weeks and if you want to go let me know. He called me back in a few days. He said, ok. So we drove to New York together.

New Horizons in New York City

Arriving in New York in the spring of 1956, Flanagan began attending jam sessions held at renowned jazz spots Club 125, Count Basies, and Smalls. After a few weeks, he sat in on his first recording session, which produced the Blue Note LP DetroitNew York Junction with Burrell, Oscar Pettiford, and Shadow Wilson. On Flanagans twenty-sixth birthday, he, along with saxophonist Sonny Rollins and bassist Paul Chambers, appeared on Miles Davis Miles Davis All Stars. Two months later, he backed Rollins on the saxophonists landmark solo recording Saxophone Colossus. In the LPs liner notes, Ira Gitler observed that the impeccable Tommy Flanagan is as fluid as ever and fiery in a more overt manner than usual. By the end of July, he performed his first date with Ella Fitzgerald, replacing the groups ailing pianist, Don Abney. Landing the job through the recommendation of Ellas cousin E. V. Perry and Detroit saxophonist Billy Mitchell of Dizzy Gillespies big band, Flanagan joined Fitzgeralds group in Cleveland. Quoted in Stuart Nicholsons biography Ella Fitzgerald, Flanagan recalled the occasion: [Ella] had charts for everything, a lot of stuff, she had a large book there. Not only did she have a trio book but she had a book for band arrangements.. To begin with I dont think she had much confidence in me, I was recommended, I just tried to do my job.

After his brief stint with Fitzgerald, Flanagan went on to perform with several of the eras most influential modern jazz artists. Between 1957 and 1959, he toured Europe with trombonist J.J. Johnsons band, a group that included trumpeter Nat Adderly and drummer Elvin Jones. During a 1957 European tour, Flanagan recorded his first album as a leader: The Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas. The record contains, wrote Rosenthal in Hard Bop, at least one example of Flanagans silky, caressing approach to ballads: Chelsea Bridge, the beginning of a long love affair on wax with Billy Strayhorn tunes. But in general it is a rocking, kicking session booted along by Joness busily interweaving, loosejointed brushwork. In May of 1959, he appeared on John Coltranes first Atlantic recording, Giant Steps (a year earlier he performed on the outstanding collaborative effort Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane). On Giant Steps and Cousin Mary, Flanagan provided a refined backdrop to the arrangements complex chord changes and vertical improvisatory patterns.

In early 1960, Flanagan attended a session that produced guitarists Wes Montgomerys critically acclaimed second album, Wes Montgomery: The Incredible Jazz Guitar. Well, we had heard a lot about Wes, even before we started to record, stated Flanagan in Jazz Spoken Here, Hed chord just chorus after chorus and not repeat himself He was that incredible. A day following Montgomerys session, hestepped into the studio again to perform on tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkinss album, At Ease With Coleman Hawkins. A set of ballads, the recording is a timeless showcase of lyricism. Tommy has a flowing style that rolls along, wrote Ron Eyre in the liner notes. He does not pound or abuse, in fact he does none of the the things that are of the hardsell variety.

After a stint with Coleman Hawkins band, Flanagan was approached by promoter Norman Granz in the summer of 1963 to take over the piano chair in Ella Fitzgeralds group. As Flanagan admitted in Ella, I guess I had a better reputation the second time I worked with herI was available. I had been working with Coleman Hawkins and he wasnt doing all that much and it was a chance for some steady work. With the addition of Flanagan, the group comprised guitarist Les Spann, bassist Jimmy Hughart, and drummer Gus Johnson. Upon the departure of Spann, Granz often featured trumpeter Roy Eldridge with Fitzgeralds trio. In November 1965, Flanagan left Fitzgeralds group; after moving to California he performed a year with singer Tony Bennett.

Back With Ella

Upon her return from touring Europe in 1968, Fitzgerald re-hired Flanagan, who remained her music director for the next decade. We worked forty to forty-five weeks a year, related Flanagan in Ella, There wasnt much time for anything else. She would take a few weeks at Christmas and a month in summer. With Fitzgeralds trio, he performed jazz festivals and appearances throughout Europe, and backed the famous singer for a performance at Louis Armstrongs funeral in 1971. His accompaniment on Fitzgeralds live Montreux 1975 has been critically recognized for its superb musical approach and inventive wit.

In the fall of 1978, years of a demanding schedule and ill health prompted Flanagan to leave Fitzgeralds trio. I finally left Ella, explained Flanagan in American Musicians, because the traveling got to be too much for me and because in 19781 had a heart attack. By the early 1980s, Flanagan was back on track His 1982 tribute to the music of Thelonious Monk, Thelonica, was voted by the Village Voice as one the best albums of the year. In 1990, Billboard selected his album Jazz Poet as one of the ten best records of the year; both Down Beat ano Jazz Times awarded him first place in their readers poll categories that year as well. Flanagans 1991 release, Beyond the Blue Bird brought him together once again with Kenny Burrell in a tribute to the two artists early musical roots. Unlike so many recent collaborations, it seems less an article of nostalgia, more a reaffirmation of artistry. In the albums liner notes, jazz scholar Dan Morganstern described Flanagans ability to maintain a level of vibrant creative expression: There are certain artistsa blessed fewwho, having already reached the pinnacle, continue to surpass themselves. Tommy Flanagan is such an artist.

Selected discography

Solo LPs

Moodsville, Original Jazz Classics, 1960.

Jazz at the Santa Monica Civic Center 72, Pablo, 1972.

Tokyo Recital, Pablo, 1975.

The Best of Tommy Flanagan, Pablo, 1977.

Eclypso, Enja, 1977.

Ballads and Blues, Enja, 1978.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Galaxy, 1980.

Super Session, Enja, 1980.

A Little Pleasure, Reservoir, 1981.

The Magnificent, Progressive, 1981.

In Memory of John Coltrane, Enja, 1982.

Thelonica, Enja, 1982.

Alone Too Long, Denon.

More Delights, Galaxy.

Jazz Poet, Timeless, 1989.

Beyond the Blue Bird, Timeless, 1990.

Lady Be GoodFor Ella, Verve, 1994.

Has also recorded the LPs The Complete Overseas (DIW), Plays the Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein (Savoy), Lets Play the Music of Thad Jones (Enja), Confirmation (Enja), and Super Session (Enja).

With Others

(With Sonny Rollins) Saxophone Colossus, Prestige, 1956.

Miles Davis All Stars, Prestige, 1956.

Kenny Burrell: All Day Long, Prestige, 1957.

Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, Prestige, 1958.

(With John Coltrane) Giant Steps, Atlantic, 1959.

The Incredible Guitar of Wes Montgomery, Riverside, 1960.

At Ease With Coleman Hawkins, Prestige, 1960.

Coleman Hawkins: The Jazz Version No Strings, Moodsville, 1962.

(With Hank Jones) Our Delights, Original Jazz Classics, 1979.

(With Red Mitchell) Youre Me, Phontastic, 1980.

(With Pepper Adams) The Adams Effect, Uptown, 1988.

(With Mark Whitfield) 7th Ave. Stroll, Verve, 1996.

Has also recorded Im Still All Smiles (with Hank Jones; piano duets) for Verve; Together: Tommy Flanagan/Kenny Barron for Denon; and Kenny Burrell Jazzmen From Detorit BYG.



Balliet, Whitney, American Musicians: Fifty-Six Portraits in Jazz, Oxford University Press, 1986.

Chambers, Jack, Milestones Vol. I: The Music and Times of Miles Davis to 1960, University of Toronto Press, 1983.

Enstice, Wayne and Paul Rubin, Jazz Spoken Here: Conversations With Twenty-Two Musicians, Louisiana Press, 1992.

Nicholson, Stuart, Ella Fitzgerald, Victor Gollancz, 1993.

Nicholson, Stuart, Jazz: The 1980s Resurgence, Da Capo, 1995.

Rosenthal, David, Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965, Oxford University Press, 1992.

Ullman, Michael, Jazz Lives: Portraits in Words and Pictures, New Republic Books, 1980.


Detroit Free Press, March 14, 1996.

Detroit News, September 26, 1992.

Down Beat, October 15, 1970.

Jazz Times, October, 1992.

Michigan Chronicle, July 30, 1949; January 3, 1953.

Information for this profile was also obtained via a radio interview with Kenny Burrell conducted by Ed Love on WDET-FM, Detroit, and a private interview with saxophonist George Benson in Detroit on November 22, 1990.

Liner notes from At Ease With Coleman Hawkins (Prestige, 1960), written by Dan Eyre; Saxophone Colossus (Prestige, 1956), written by Ira Gitler; and Beyond the Blue Bird (Timeless, 1991), written by Dan Morganstern, were also used in compiling this profile.

John Cohassey

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Tommy Flanagan


Jazz pianist

Over a career that spanned more than half a century, Tommy Flanagan established himself as one of the world's most preeminent jazz pianists. With a distinctive style combining elements of 1940s swing with the faster bebop of the 1950s, Flanagan was known among colleagues and fans as a classicist, a craftsman who made a traditional composition his own without compromising the integrity of its underlying melody. His modesty made him a superb accompanist, a role he performed for the vocalist Ella Fitzgerald for many years. It was only after leaving Fitzgerald in 1978, however, that his talents as a composer and bandleader were fully recognized.

Tommy Lee Flanagan was born on March 16, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of six children born to Johnson Flanagan, a postal worker, and Ida Mae Flanagan. The family shared a marked enthusiasm for music, and Flanagan began clarinet lessons at the age of six. He enjoyed watching one of his brothers, Johnson Flanagan Jr., practice at the keyboard, so much so that by age ten he dropped the clarinet and began taking piano lessons himself. He later credited his first piano teacher, Gladys Dillard, with instilling in him the disciplined technique that came to be one of his trademarks. She also taught him to play a variety of classical composers, notably Frederic Chopin, and gave him a firm grounding in classical theories of harmony and composition. Flanagan's classical training, which would continue in the exceptionally strong musical-education programs of the Detroit public school system, would serve him well throughout his career.

By the time Flanagan was a teenager, Detroit had emerged as a major center of the jazz world and, arguably, its largest source of talent. A remarkable number of Flanagan's neighbors and peers became major stars, including the vibraphonist Milt Jackson; the brothers Elvin Jones (drums), Thad Jones (trumpet), and Hank Jones (piano); the pianist Barry Harris; and the guitarist Kenny Burrell. Even though Flanagan played at various points with all of these musicians, his collaborations with Burrell and Hank Jones would be especially close. While still in high school, Flanagan began sneaking out of the house at night to go to the famous Blue Bird Inn and other area jazz clubs, often listening outside the door because he was too young to enter. By 1947 he was playing professionally in a trio with Burrell and the bassist Alvin Jackson.

Major influences on Flanagan at this early stage of his development were the pianist Art Tatum and the saxophonist Charlie Parker. The latter was a pioneer of the so-called bebop movement, which began to dominate jazz at the end of the 1940s. While Flanagan embraced bebop's intricate chord progressions and quick tempo, he resisted its emphasis on unrestrained improvisation. In what is perhaps a sign of his classical training and of the lingering influence of the earlier swing style, Flanagan characteristically preferred only short bursts of improvisation. As Ben Ratliff in the New York Times noted of Flanagan's work in the 1980s and 1990s, "His trio created arrangements lined with short improvisations, with one player's solo framed by concise phrases worked out between the other two musicians. A sense of self-restraint permeated all the band's performances, with solo breaks that were not too long and all ideas tastefully wrapped up; the melody line never disappeared under his improvisations."

Between 1947 and 1951 Flanagan attracted an increasing amount of attention with gigs at the Blue Bird Inn and other venues in and around Detroit. His career was interrupted, however, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army for service in South Korea. Upon his return to Detroit around 1953, he found that the local jazz scene had lost much of its vitality. When Burrell, his friend and longtime collaborator, suggested the two move to New York City, Flanagan was quick to agree. Arriving in New York in the spring of 1956, both quickly found steady work as studio musicians, with Flanagan performing on one of the decade's most influential recordings: the saxophonist Sonny Rollins's Saxophone Colossus (1956). In July of 1956 Flanagan's career took a significant turn when he was recommended to the renowned vocalist Ella Fitzgerald as a substitute accompanist. Though the two performed for only a short time before Fitzgerald's primary accompanist returned to work, Flanagan made a lasting impression on the singer, and she would play a formative role in his later career. Several months later, in 1957, the pianist completed the first album to be released under his own name. Recorded during a trip to Sweden, The Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas featured Elvin Jones on drums and Wilbur Little on bass. It was popular with critics and the public, and its track "Delarna," one of Flanagan's own compositions, became a signature tune.

Upon his return to New York, Flanagan participated in recording sessions that produced what have proved to be some of the most enduring albums in jazz. These include the saxophonist John Coltrane's Giant Steps (1959), the guitarist Wes Montgomery's Incredible Jazz Guitar (1960), and the saxophonist Coleman Hawkins's At Ease with Coleman Hawkins (1960). According to the Web site All about Jazz, Flanagan's playing can be heard on more than one hundred albums produced from 1956 through 1968. In 1963 Fitzgerald offered him the chance to accompany her on a permanent basis. He accepted and worked with her until the end of 1965, when, exhausted by her grueling concert schedule, he moved briefly to California, where he found work for a year as the accompanist for the vocalist Tony Bennett. He then returned to New York. When Fitzgerald returned there in 1968 after an extended tour of Europe, she promptly rehired him. The two worked together for the next ten years, with Flanagan eventually assuming the role as her musical director. In 1978, however, a heart attack prompted him to reevaluate his schedule. After concluding that Fitzgerald's near-constant touring was not good for his health, he left her to concentrate on solo projects.

At a Glance …

Born Tommy Lee Flanagan on March 16, 1930, in Detroit, MI; died of an arterial aneurysm on November 16, 2001, in New York City; son of Johnson (a postal worker) and Ida Mae Flanagan; married Ann, 1960 (divorced 1973[?]); married Diana Kershner, 1976; children: (with Ann) Tommy Jr., Rachel, Jennifer, Ann (deceased 1980). Military service: U.S. Army, 1951-53.

Career: Played in concerts, 1947-2001, and recording sessions, 1956-99 with Thad Jones, Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Wes Montgomery, and other jazz legends; principal accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, 1963-65 and 1968-78; solo career, 1978-2001.

Awards: Named Best Jazz Pianist, Down Beat's International Critics' Poll, 1992; Jazzpar Prize, International Jazzpar Committee (Denmark), 1993; American Jazz Master Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1996; four Grammy Award nominations.

The next two decades were the most fertile periods of his career. Working with a succession of skilled bassists, notably George Mraz and Peter Washington, and drummers, including Lewis Nash and Albert Heath, Flanagan produced a series of albums that were remarkable for their consistent quality and attention to detail. According to the Web site Jerry Jazz Musician, the longtime jazz critic Gary Giddens remarked of Flanagan's work during this period, "His trio had the precision of a watch." Albums such as Thelonica (1982), a tribute to fellow pianist Thelonious Monk, won international acclaim from critics and the public. In 1993 Flanagan was awarded Denmark's Jazzpar Prize, one of the most prestigious in jazz. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award four times and was named Best Jazz Pianist in Down Beat magazine's 1992 International Critics' Poll.

Flanagan died of an arterial aneurysm on November 16, 2001, in New York City. Surviving him were his wife, Diana Kershner Flanagan, three children from a previous marriage, and a number of grandchildren.

Selected discography

Davis, Miles, Collectors' Items, Prestige/OJC, 1956.

Rollins, Sonny, Saxophone Colossus, Prestige/OJC, 1956.

The Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas, Prestige, 1957.

Coltrane John, Giant Steps, Atlantic, 1959.

Hawkins, Coleman, At Ease with Coleman Hawkins, Original Jazz Classics, 1960.

Montgomery, Wes, The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, Riverside/OJC, 1960.

The Tommy Flanagan Trio, Prestige/OJC, 1960.

Hawkins, Coleman, Desafinado: Bossa Nova and Jazz Samba, GRP/Impulse, 1962.

Fitzgerald, Ella, Fine and Mellow, Pablo, 1974.

Fitzgerald, Ella, Montreux '75, Pablo, 1975.

The Tokyo Recital, Original Jazz Classics, 1975.

Trinity, Inner City, 1975.

Eclypso, Enja, 1977.

Montreux '77, Pablo/OJC, 1977.

Ballads and Blues, Enja, 1978.

(With Hank Jones) Our Delights, Galaxy/OJC, 1978.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Original Jazz Classics, 1978.

The Magnificent Tommy Flanagan, Progressive, 1981.

Thelonica, Enja, 1982.

Jazz Poet, Timeless, 1989.

Beyond the Blue Bird, Timeless, 1990.

Let's Play the Music of Thad Jones, Enja, 1993.

Lady Be Good … for Ella, Verve, 1994.

Flanagan's Shenanigans, Storyville, 1995.

Sea Changes, Evidence, 1996.

For Bird, Monk, Trane, & Thad, Jazzfest, 1997.

Sunset and the Mockingbird: The Birthday Concert, Blue Note, 1998.

(With Hank Jones) I'm All Smiles, Verve, 1999.



New York Times, November 19, 2001.


Bowers, Jack, "Sunset and the Mockingbird," All about Jazz, (accessed June 18, 2008).

"Gary Giddens, Part 1," Jerry Jazz Musician, (accessed June 18, 2008).

Mathieson, Kenny, "Lucid and Sophisticated Jazz Pianist: Tommy Flanagan," All about Jazz, (accessed June 18, 2008).

"Tommy Flanagan," All about Jazz, (accessed June 18, 2008).

Yanow, Scott, "Tommy Flanagan," allmusic,˜T1 (accessed June 18, 2008).

—R. Anthony Kugler

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Flanagan, Tommy 1965- (Tommy J. Flanagan)


Born July 3, 1965, in Glasgow, Scotland; mother's name, Betty Flanagan; married Rachel, May, 1998 (divorced, June, 2001).


Agent—Julia Buchwald, Don Buchwald and Associates, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2200, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Manager—Beth Holden-Garland, Untitled Entertainment, 1801 Century Park East, Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90067.


Actor. Raindog Theatre Company, Scotland, member of company. Also worked as a nightclub disc jockey, painter, and decorator.

Awards, Honors:

Copper Wing Award (with others), best ensemble acting, Phoenix Film Festival, 2002, for Dead Dogs Lie.


Film Appearances:

(Uncredited) Harry, The Hawk, Castle Hill Productions, 1993.

Morrison, Braveheart, Paramount, 1995.

(As Tommy J. Flanagan) Leo Fry, Face/Off (also known as Face Off, Al/Arc, A outra face, Bez twarzy, Brez obraza, Cara a cara, Contracara, Double identite, Double/identite, Face/Off—Due facce di un assassino, Fata in fata, Im Koerper des Feindes, Kahe/Voitlus, and Volte/face), Paramount, 1997.

Scarface, The Saint (also known as Az angyal, Aziz, Der Mann ohne Namen, El santo, Helgenen, Helgonet, Il santo, Le saint, O santo, Pyhimys, and Svetnik), Paramount, 1997.

Solicitor and taxi driver, The Game, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1997.

The Detail, Nightwing Productions, 1997.

Da, Ratcatcher, First Look Pictures, 1999.

Eddie, Plunkett & Macleane (also known as Guns 1748 and Rob the Rich), Gramercy Pictures, 1999.

Cicero, Gladiator (also known as The Gladiators), DreamWorks, 2000.

(As Tommy J. Flanagan) Duncan, Sunset Strip (also known as Untitled Sunset Strip Project), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2000.

McCracken, Hidden (short film), Hypnotic, 2000.

Michelangelo, Strictly Sinatra (also known as Cocozza's Way), Universal, 2000.

Michael, Dead Dogs Lie, Big Slick Entertainment/My2Centences, 2001.

Williamson, All about the Benjamins (also known as All about the Money and Good Boys), New Line Cinema, 2001.

Irish henchman, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (also known as Charlie's Angels: Halo and Charlie's Angels 2), Columbia, 2003.

Mark Verheiden, AVP: Alien vs. Predator (also known as Alien vs. Predator, AVP, and AVP: Alien vs. Predateur), Twentieth Century-Fox, 2004.

Tommy, Trauma, Warner Bros., 2004.

Brian, Sin City (also known as Frank Miller's "Sin City"), Dimension Films, 2005.

Lazlo Soot, Smokin' Aces (also known as Mi$e a prix), Universal, 2006.

Private Dennis Baker, The Last Drop, Media Pro Pictures, 2006.

Stranger, When a Stranger Calls (also known as Bell Ringer and Stranger Call), Screen Gems, 2006.

Derek, Hero Wanted, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2008.

Keillor, The Blackening, New Black Films/Fresh Paint Pictures, 2008.

Peter, When Did You Leave Heaven!?!, Goldmount Pictures, 2008.

Television Appearances; Series:

Paul, A Mug's Game, BBC, 1996.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Bleda, Attila (also known as Attila the Hun), USA Network, 2001.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Black and Blue, BBC, c. 1982.

Prisoner, 'Tis the Season to Be Jolly, [Great Britain], 1993.

Man at grotto, Jolly: A Life, [Great Britain], 1995.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, Attila: The Making of an Epic Miniseries (also known as Attila: The Making of an Epic Mini-Series), USA Network, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Tam McLeod, "Instrument of Justice," Taggart, Independent Television (England), 1993.

Harry, "The Bonny Bonny Banks," Bad Boys, BBC, 1996.

Sean, "Lottery," Rab C Nesbitt, BBC, 1996.

Thomas Telford, "The Hanging Garden," Rebus, Independent Television (England), 2000.

Appeared in other programs, including The Late Show, BBC.

Stage Appearances:

Appeared in Conquest of the South Pole, Macbeth, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Still Live, Wasted (also known as Wasted I), and Wasted 2 (also known as Wasted II), all Raindog Theatre Company, Scotland. Appeared as Bertram, All's Well That Ends Well, as George Glumov, Even a Wise Man Stumbles, as Banquo, Macbeth, as Franklin Shepherd, Merrily We Roll Along (musical), as Ben Gordon, Paradise Lost, as Nikolai Stavrogin, The Possessed, as the duke of Florence, Women Beware Women, as Yegor Bulychov (some sources spell name as Yegor Bulitchev), Yegor Bulychov and Others (also known as Yegor Bulitchev and Others), and as the first duke and Peter, York Passion Plays, all Drama Centre. Also appeared as Pylades, Britannicus; as Martin, Fool for Love; as Treat, Orphans; as Rosmer, Rosmersholm; as Lee, True West; and as Rudolpho, A View from the Bridge.



(In archive footage) Cicero, Ultimate Fights from the Movies, Flixmix, 2002.

Himself, All about the Stunts (short), New Line Home Video, 2002.

Himself, Miami Nice (short), New Line Home Video, 2002.

Himself, Strictly Business: Making "All about the Benjamins " (short), New Line Home Video, 2002.



Film Review, January, 2000, p. 98.