Jazz legend Mosca moves on to other levels

Corey Kilgannon

Corey Kilgannon

NEW YORK - Sal Mosca, a jazz pianist whose career began playing with giants like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, died of complications from emphysema on July 28 in White Plains, New York. He was 80.

Mosca was a protege of Lennie Tristano, known for his rigorous approach to improvisation.

A lifelong resident of MountVernon, Mosca grew up emulating the stride of Fats Waller, theswing of Teddy Wilson and the technical and improvisatory mastery of Art Tatum. By his teens, he was backing up famous players in Manhattan nightclubs.

In the 1950s he played on several watershed early cool-jazzrecordings, such as Ezz-thetic, with Miles Davis, andSubconscious-Lee, with the saxophonist Lee Konitz, anotherTristano student with whom Mosca played in clubs like Birdland.

Tristano later wrote that "of all the great people in jazz since the 1940s, Sal Mosca is one of the greatest".

He went into seclusion in later years, and only made rare appearances. He leaves a daughter, two sons and seven grandchildren. - New York Times