ROCK HALL, Md.--Tokyo born jazz pianist Tadataka Unno pays tribute to his hero, the late Dick Morgan, in a concert with three of Morgan’s sidemen at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Md., on Saturday May 20 at 8:00 p.m.
Hailed by Washingtonian Magazine as the capital’s signature jazz pianist, Dick Morgan was a prominent figure on the national jazz scene for more than a half century. He was born in Petersburg, Va., and by the time he was 5 could play hymns from memory on the piano. He played in church until a local radio show started featuring him, at age 10, as a prodigy. As a teenager he was brought to play in front of Duke Ellington. His long career included dozens of recordings with such artists as Julian “Cannonball” Adderly, Etta Jones, Joe Williams, Herb Ellis, and Charlie Byrd. Morgan died in 2013 at the age of 84.
Tadataka Unno was born in Tokyo in 1980. He grew up listening to the giants of jazz, including Dick Morgan, attended Tokyo University for Music and Fine Art and became one of that country’s leading jazz pianists. He moved to the United States in 2008 and was selected to attend Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center and the Jazz Rising Stars Program in Chicago. He continued to follow the recordings of Morgan and absorb more of his style. He finally met his long-time idol at one of Morgan’s many performances at Blues Alley. Unno now lives in New York and plays regularly at such clubs as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club. He has been touring with legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb and recently released his fifth album, "Journeyer."
Steve Abshire was the guitarist with Dick Morgan for nearly 30 years. He has performed with such jazz stars as Louie Bellson, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Marian McPartland, Stanley Turrentine, and Joe Williams. Abshire performed with various U.S. Navy bands for 24 years and was for 18 years, the guitarist and a featured soloist with the Commodores, the Navy’s premiere jazz ensemble.
Drummer and composer Nasar Abadey is the founder, leader and driving force of the well-known jazz group Supernova. He performed many times with Dick Morgan over a period of some 20 years as well as with Dizzy Gillespie, Cyrus Chestnut, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Stanley Turrentine and Sun Ra. He is currently Professor of Jazz Percussion in the Jazz Studies department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
David Einhorn was the bassist with Dick Morgan for over 20 years and is on many of Mr. Morgan’s CDs. He has also performed with Johnny Hartman, Anita O’Day, Paquito d’Rivera, Woody Herman and Al Grey.
Admission is $17 if purchased in advance and $20 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.