Dameron was a composer and pianist who fused the sophisticated arrangements of the Big Band era with bebop's complex harmonies. In the 1940s and '50s, Tadd Dameron worked with everyone who was anyone in jazz, from Miles Davis to Artie Shaw, Count Basie to John Coltrane. Everything Dameron touched had one thing in common, says Paul Combs, author of Dameronia: The Life and Work of Tadd Dameron.
"A penchant for lyricism," Combs says. "Almost everything that he writes has a very lyrical grace to it."
Dameron made complex music with little formal education. He was born in Cleveland on Feb. 21, 1917, and began playing piano at the age of 4. In 1952 in the only known recording of his voice Dameron told disc jockey Harry Frost that everyone in his family was a musician.