Born in New York City on September 28, 1976, Peter Delano began playing the piano at six. By the time he was nine he had discovered blues progressions and was on his way to becoming a piano prodigy. At 12 he was the youngest student admitted to the already prestigious, two-year-old New School Jazz Program.

I met Peter Delano through trumpeter Red Rodney, a longtime friend of mine. When professional musicians talk more than casually about new talent my ears perk up. I remember Philly Joe Jones making a point to tell me about Clifford Brown. When Red pulled my coat to Peter I knew there was something worth listening to in the offing. I can’t recall whether I first heard him on tape or in person but I was duly impressed. I was not completely surprised because of Red’s words but I was in the sense that Peter was even better than imagined.  One night, quite a while after I had been listening to him, I was given a Blindfold Test. The pianist was blowing dynamic bebop, clearly inspired by Bud Powell. I didn’t even hazard a guess. It was Peter—at 12.

I was asked to write the notes for his first CD, Peter Delano, in ’93. Impressed by his performance alongside some of the Apple’s elite—Gary Bartz, Michael Brecker and Lewis Nash--I was even more taken with the maturity of his excellent compositions, having heretofore not been exposed to that side of him. It was easy to add my positive comments to those of Brecker: “There was instant chemistry from the moment Peter and I started playing together. He is a player/writer of immense talent and intensity, and I had a great time working with him”; and Bartz: “I can’t remember hearing anyone of his age that well developed…plus that ear, that technique.”

His second release, Bite of the Apple, recorded at the end of ’93 and the beginning of ’94, in collaboration with an even greater variety of top New York musicians, was tailored to those diverse talents in different combinations through nine Delano pieces and Richard Rodgers’ “The Sweetest Sounds.” The Chicago Sun Times noted: “Throughout his playing is as lucid and revealing as it is spirited and sure.” Keyboard chimed in: “From moody solo reflections to bracing ensemble pieces, Delano writes and blows with astonishing precocity.”

About that time in 1994 Delano entered Columbia University. Throughout his years there, until graduation in 2000, he managed to sandwich his academic studies in between live performances which circled the globe and ranged from repeat engagements at major European jazz festivals such as North Sea; a solo recital at Montreux; and an appearance at New York’s Blue Note where he opened, solo, for the trio of Herbie Hancock. A particular highlight of those years was Delano’s tribute to Oscar Peterson as a part of Verve’s 50th Anniversary spectacular at Carnegie Hall. New York Newsday reported: “The unexpected high point of the proceedings came when piano prodigy Peter Delano set loose a polychromatic rendition of  ‘Tangerine.’ ”

After graduation Delano toured with guitarist Mark Whitfield’s group, did considerable studio work on piano and keyboards and appeared quite a few times on television’s Black Entertainment Network. Some of his compositions were used as soundtrack material for a few documentaries. He also scored some short, independent films and commercials during this period. 
Delano also began studying with two highly regarded teachers, broadening his approach to piano with Sophia Rosoff, and expanding his compositional abilities in Classical Orchestration with composer Marc Consoli. He also delved into teaching Jazz Theory and Piano and amassed a substantial body of private students.

In 2004, at the height of his creative potential, Delano sustained a severe back injury that left his foot paralyzed and rendered him absolutely unable to sit at the piano without experiencing excruciating pain. It was determined that he required emergency spinal surgery. As it turned out, the spinal surgery knocked him for a loop, eventually causing him to remove himself from all things musical lest they painfully remind him of his severed relationship to music which each day seemed to be getting worse and worse.

Finally, at the beginning of 2007, Delano began regaining his physical ability to play and compose, and his passion and motivation for music. The summer marked his return to physical, mental and creative health and his full return to the world of music.

Heralding this is Delano’s third CD, named For Dewey, in tribute to Dewey Redman, the late legendary saxophonist who is importantly present on several tracks recorded earlier with Peter. Just listening to the sheer energy, joy and overall mastery of For Dewey, makes one more than half-past ready for Peter's re-entry in the new millennium.


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