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    Zito, Torrie (12th October 1933-3rd December 2009)

    He was a pianist, conductor, arranger and composer born Salvatore Zito in Utica, New York, to a family where is brother Ronnie is a drummer.  His interest in music started at a young age and he was primarily self-taught on the piano.

     

    As a teenager he became an accompanist at various clubs in his local area and once he got into his 20s he made the decision to enter the Manhattan School of Music.  During his time there he caught the notice of the arranger Marion Evans who gave him private tuition.

     

    By 1961 he was starting to be active in the recording studio when he worked on albums by Bobby Darin and James Moody.  This was enough for him to have gained the attention of Frank Sinatra, Herbie Mann, and Perry Como, who he recorded with as well as making appearances on “The Perry Como Show”.

     

    Tony Bennett also took an interest and in 1967 he was taken on as his arranger, pianist and conductor.  This resulted in him touring with him for the next seven years and spending a lot of time in the recording studio for many of his albums right up until the 2008 Grammy nomination A Swingin’ Christmas.

     

    In 1971 he worked with John Lennon on the very successful album Imagine as his string arranger, which is one of the ways his work is remembered today.

     

    As a composer he wrote many pieces of background or incidental music for TV shows as well as for commercials with one of his better known works for the coffee company Maxwell House.  He also worked with Doc Severinsen as an arranger on NBC’s The Tonight Show.

     

    He remained an in demand arranger, conductor, composer and pianist for the course of his career for many other popular artists.  Some of these artists include Billy Eckstine, Renee Fleming, Eydie Gorme, Bille Holliday, Stan Getz, Marvin Hamlisch, Quincy Jones, Steve Lawrence, Monica Mancini, Johnny Mathis, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Nana Mouskouri, David “Fathead” Newman, O.C. Smith and Zoot Sims.

     

    His recording output, as you can imagine, was large but a select few of them include Lightly Latin by Perry Como, Peace, Love & Truth by John Lennon, Herbie Mann String Album by Herbie Mann, Songs from the Last Century by George Michael, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina by Sinead O’Connor, Film Noir by Carly Simon and L.A. is My Lady by Frank Sinatra and Timeless: Live in Concert by Barbra Streisand, Andrew Lloyd Webber: A Classical Tribute by Julian Lloyd Webber and The Essential George Gershwin to name just a very few of many.  

     

    He also worked on several recordings with his second wife, the jazz singer Helen Merrill.

     

    Having suffered from emphysema later in life he passed away in 2009 when he was 76 years old, leaving behind his wife, his daughter Lisa Zito from his first marriage and his stepson Alan Merrill.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torrie_Zito
    2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/arts/music/08zito.html?_r=0
    3. http://www.thisisannouncements.co.uk/5911165
    4. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=35153
    5. http://uk.imdb.com/name/nm0957277/bio
    6. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/torrie-zito-mn0000178648
    7. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Torrie+Zito

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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