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Philadelphia jazz pianist Jimmy Amadie to release “Something Special” on August 16

Philadelphia icon Jimmy Amadie returns to the spotlight with a new project called “Something Special” on Aug. 16, 2011, and he will make his first public performance since 1967 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 5:45 p.m.  and 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14.
Amadie, 74, has battled many struggles over the years, but he is happy to share his love of music with his fans. 
“This is the best time of my life,” Amadie said in a news release. “I’m 74 years old and I’m getting better every day.”
Amadie’s story has been recounted often since his miraculous return to the piano bench in the mid-1990s, but it bears repeating. The North Philadelphia native was a promising young pianist in the 1950s, accompanying the likes of Mel Torme, Woody Herman and Red Rodney, when his performing career was brought to an abrupt halt by severe tendonitis in both hands. Playing the piano suddenly became sheer agony, and Amadie was reduced to improvising only in his head for the next 35 years. 
He managed to maintain an influential presence on jazz through those decades thanks to his own teaching (students included Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Di Martino and famed TV composer Edd Kalehoff) and the publication of two highly-regarded instructional volumes: Harmonic Foundation for Jazz and Popular Music and Jazz Improv: How To Play It and Teach It. His own belated recording debut finally arrived in 1995, thanks to a series of surgeries and his own indomitable fighting spirit.
Just as his luck seemed to be improving he was faced with a further setback. Following the 2007 recording of The Philadelphia Story, he was diagnosed with lung cancer; having reached the summit of one mountain, he suddenly found himself at the base of another.

Something Special is, in many ways, a direct result of that diagnosis. Most people are forced to reassess their priorities when confronted with a life-threatening illness; for Amadie, the cancer, which he continues to battle successfully, helped him come to the decision of recording his first trio session.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get another chance to play,” Amadie said. “I decided to give it my best shot and play without holding back. I’m glad I did. I can’t tell you what I learned.”

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Pianist Jimmy Amadie to release project “Kindred Spirits” on May 11

According to a news release, veteran pianist Jimmy Amadie adds another chapter to his remarkable life story with the May 11 release “Kindred Spirits,”  which features an all-star lineup on a tailor-made selection of blazing swing and tender ballads. Each track features a collaboration with one of three saxophone giants: Lee KonitzJoe Lovano, and Lew Tabackin. As always, Amadie calls on his crack rhythm team of drummer Bill Goodwin and bassists Steve Gilmore and Tony Marino, who adapt to each guest star with stunning dexterity.Kindred Spirits” finds common ground linking individualistic musicians. As Amadie’s seventh CD, it follows in the footsteps of his last effort, The Philadelphia Story,” which teamed the leader with Benny Golson, Randy Brecker, and Tabackin.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to record with some of the greatest players who’ve ever lived,” Amadie says. “It’s such an unbelievable experience because you get a chance to learn from them.”

For fans who follow Amadie, the journey has been a long one for him. Amadie has not only struggled with the extreme tendonitis in his hands which waylaid his musical life for decades, but he was diagnosed with lung cancer after the recording of “The Philadelphia Story.” He entered a year-long treatment of chemotherapy and radiation, but it has not stalled his love for music.
“There isn’t anything negative about the playing I did,” Amadie insists in a news release. “I did not play under bad circumstances.”