AlBundy

Honky-tonk jazz pianist Al Bundy Passes at 81

Al Bundy, a dear, beloved, wonderful jazz-blues pianist/singer/entertainer, passed away Tuesday morning, April 25, 2000. He was 81.

Born June 13, 1918 in Philadelphia, Al and his family moved to New York City when he was in his mid-teens. It was at this time that he received training as a pianist and organist. In the 30s and early 40s, Al could be found at the piano or at the organ in clubs in Harlem like SMALL'S PARADISE, BABY GRAND, RED ROOSTER, WELLS and SHOWMAN'S. He performed in clubs from Quebec to Washington, DC, working with such greats as Errol Garner and George Shearing. In Chicago he performed with Tiny Davis from The Sweethearts of Rhythm. He also performed regularly at GRACE'S LITTLE BELMONT.

He served as accompanist to Billie Holiday, Gloria Lynne, Ruth Brown, Thelma Carpenter, Johnny Hartman, and Orlando Robinson. He even once accompanied Madonna - in a photo session at ARTHUR'S TAVERN on Grove Street in Greenwich Village, where Al was house musician for over 22 years. At ARTHUR'S he made many friends, who often joined him at the open mike, including Country Joe, Dale Chandler, and Laurel Watson. Sax player Dennis Bram and trumpeter Johnny Parker worked with him there.

Al was also a regular pianist for 10 years at THE 5 OAKS, also on Grove Street, where he played alongside his dear friend, the late Marie Blake, as well as Stephen Lowenthal, Mark Nadler, Charley Limburg, Bobby Peaco and others. He also performed for 8 years at CHEZ JOSEPHINE on West 42nd Street and at ECCO L'ITALIA on Bleecker Street.

Over the past 10 years, Al travelled and performed in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Paris, Rome and Venice. His ready smile and easy honky-tonk keyboarding garnered him friends, fans, and critical praise all over the world.

Al's wife, Mary Louise predeceased him. He is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Cornell and Brenda, as well as grandchildren Robyn, Crystal, Pearisce and Nicole, and seven great-grandchildren: Chauncey, Rodney, Tereve, Quaina, Michelle, Jasmin and Asia. Al is also survived by his companion of ten years, Alberto.

He also leaves an uncountable number of friends, including Ginger Regan, owner of the 5 OAKS, Jean Claude of CHEZ JOSEPHINE, Joe and Penny at ECCO, Ruven and Nick at ARTHUR'S and Judy Kreston, David Lahm and Richard Hendrickson of JUDY'S CHELSEA and the staff and visitors to those rooms.

 

Click Here to see Video Clip of Al Bundy performing at THE 5 OAKS
video copyright © 1992 Dina Bahbany-Miraglia Ph.d. and Steven Kutyna

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