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Johnny O'Neal at King's Keyboard

The stupendous pianist Johnny O'Neal will be the first guest in King's Jazz Masters Series on Sunday, February 24 at 3:00 p.m. SEMJA is a sponsor of the new series at King's Keyboard House in Ann Arbor. The new series will also feature a house band and a student group. The house band is the Dobbins-Krahnke-Weed trio, with pianist Tad Weed, bassist Kurt Krahnke, and drummer Sean Dobbins. Opening up the afternoon will be a high school student group. There will also be a question and answer session with O'Neal facilitated by fellow pianist Weed.

O'Neal is a Detroit native who came to the attention of bassist Ray Brown at a gig in Toledo in 1978, which led to his recording debut on Concord records the following year (Coming Out) and work with vibraphone master Milt Jackson. He moved to New York City in 1982 and toured with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers for over a year. The Messengers were generally considered the number one training ground for hard swingers at the time. Since 1985 he has largely led his own trios on tours and recordings. In 2004 he was chosen to play the role of Art Tatum in the movie Ray, the most demanding role imaginable for any jazz pianist. O'Neal tours regularly and will just be returning from his annual four-day stint at the Jazz Party in Newport Beach, California.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for students) at the door or in advance at King's, 2333 East Stadium Blvd, or Julie's Music, 2361 E. Stadium Blvd. in Ann Arbor. For reservations or more information, please call King's at 734-663-3381.

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