Category: pianist

Liberace and Elvis Presley at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas on November 16, 1956

(Original Caption) This combination is surely enough to bring down upon us a mass epidemic of teenage swooning spells. Doing the double switch are Liberace, just back from a European tour, and Elvis Presley. Liberace gave up his piano and gold sequined jacket to Presley for the latter’s guitar and striped sports coat in an impromptu jam session backstage after Liberace’s appearance at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

Hazel Scott modeling her custom Balmain for Jet magazine (May 15, 1952)

Dinah Washington and her goddaughter Patti Austin

Patti Austin made her Apollo Theater debut at the age of 4 on a dare. “We went to see the Apollo to see Dinah Washington,” said Austin, who often met renowned musicians growing up through her musical father, a professional trombone player. With some precociousness, Austin ended up on stage. “Dinah dared me to sang, I sang, and I finished singing and ran off the stage. The audience liked it, and I liked that they liked it, and I ran into the arms of a guy who was on one knee in the wing.” That guy was Sammy Davis Jr., who asked her parents if she could do his show the following week, and a robust musical career was born.

Austin has released 17 solo albums and has performed with the likes of Michael Jackson and Paul Simon. She won a Grammy in 2008 for best jazz vocal for her album “Avant Gershwin.”

In an interview with Lois Reitzes, Austin discussed her relationship with her godfather Quincy Jones, Johnny Mathis and her two musical idols, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland. Austin first saw Garland perform at age 13. Regardless of Garland’s dwindling technical ability at the time, Austin said that performance totally changed her life. “None of her technical ability matter because there was so much soul and so much heart and so much skill. And I had never seen someone perform that way,” said Austin. “She had to act her way through stuff, and she was brilliant at it.”


Elton John performing at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, October 1975.

Photos by

Terry O’Neill

September 4, 1951: American pianist and singer Hazel Scott with her husband Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr and their son, Adam Clayton Powell III,arriving in London where she performed at the London Palladium.

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Hazel Scott on their wedding day in Harlem on August 1, 1945.

Elton John photographed by George Wilkes, 1972.

Judy Garland and husband Mickey Deans with best man, Johnnie Ray during their wedding reception at Quaglino’s in London on March 15, 1969.

Nat King Cole poses for a portrait session in 1964.

Otis Redding and Nina Simone during the NARA (National Association of Radio Announcers) convention

at the Regency Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on August 11, 1967. 

Photos by Vernon Merritt III