George Caldwell - Keyboardist

Caldwell, George (Overall), The pianist George Caldwell hails from Clarksdale, Mississippi. His first job as a jazz pianist was with saxophonist Bill Easley at Bill’s Twilight Lounge in Memphis, Tn. Then the pianist played briefly with Clifford Jordan. From there, Caldwell followed Mulgrew Miller into the piano chair of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, under the direction of his son, Mercer. He played with the band for three years. Caldwell’s next job was with David “Panama” Francis at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan, followed by seven years with the world renowned Count Basie Orchestra, five years under the direction of Frank Foster, and two years under Grover Mitchell’s leadership. A partial listing of the many great artists he has shared the bandstand with includes Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Joe Williams, George Benson, Kenny Garrett, Carmen Bradford, Art Blakey, Savion Glover, Lou Rawls, Lionel Hampton, George Coleman, Louis Smith, Joe Newman, Roy Hargrove, and Jon Faddis.. Caldwell is currently performing with a theatre production of a show about the life of Ella Fitzgerald which has been touring the states. He performed with the New Kansas City Seven, featuring Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, Buddy Catlett, and Harold Jones at the Chicago Jazz Festival. His latest cd, ‘Mocus’, is available, and it features his originals as well as his arrangements of well known standards from the American songbook. A sampling of Caldwell’s discography includes five discs with the Basie organization: ‘The Count Basie Orchestra Live at El Morrocco’, ‘Basie’s Bag’, ‘Joe Williams and The Count Basie Orchestra Live at Orchestra Hall’, ‘Jazzin’ with Tito Puente, and ‘The Count Basie Orchestra live at The Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild w/ the New York Voices’ (for which the band won a Grammy); his arrangements and original compositions were featured on Craig Bailey’s ‘A New Journey’, Lewis Nash’s ‘Rhythm is My Business’, Hank Crawford’s ‘South Central’, and Bill Easley’s ‘First Call’.Caldwell was awarded full scholarships to Memphis State University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he recieved his bachelor of music in piano and composition. He is in the final year of masters work at Rutgers for which he was awarded a Ralph Bunche Fellowship. He has composed the musical score for an award-winning short film, ‘Rolling in Dough’, and is the recipient, along with the other members of the Basie band, of a Jazz Education from the I.A.J.E., as well as receiving a W.C. Handy award for a curriculum he designed, along with the late Nancy Ferguson, for teaching 4th and 5th graders music theory using the blues idiom.

Grammy Winner 1996 pianist “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance “Count Basie Orchestra Live At Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (with The New York Voices);
W C Handy Award for Blues in Education

Nathan Davis: If (1976); Midtown Jazz Mobile: Bakatak (1982); Gerard Harris: No Strings Attached (1984); Dan Hope: Golden Ships (1985); Gerard Harris: Joseph’s Path (1985); Bill Easley: First Call (1992); Hank Crawford: South Central (1992); The Count Basie Orchestra: Joe Williams Live at Orchestra Hall With Count Basie; Lewis Nash: Rhythm Is My Business; The Count Basie Orchestra: Basie’s Bag (1994); Craig Bailey: A New Journey (1995); The Count Basie Orchestra: Live At Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (1996); Tito Puente/India: Jazzin (1996); Original Broadway Cast Album: Play On (1997)

Composed Score for “Rolling in Dough” Award -winning short (1990)

Radio Broadcasts:
WBGO, etc.

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