André Persiani

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This pianist was a familiar fellow in and around the Paris swing scene from the years of the Second World War up through the mid-'80s. André Persiani is also frequently identified as André Persiany,…
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Artist Biography by

This pianist was a familiar fellow in and around the Paris swing scene from the years of the Second World War up through the mid-'80s. André Persiani is also frequently identified as André Persiany, the surname ending in "i" being the one given him at birth. His father wrote songs for musical theater during the '20s, the pianist offspring debuting professionally around the time American forces started marching through France, many of them hot for swing. The guys with carbines were not the only Americans arriving in France. Among the troops of arriving jazz musicians were many players who decided to stay. Persiani had much to do with the resulting expatriate community, on the bandstand anyway. He backed up Sidney Bechet just as he backed up the subsequent generations of swing players paying tribute to that master, including frequent front-line player Budd Johnson. The pianist also played and recorded with Mezz Mezzrow, Bill Coleman, Buck Clayton, Charlie Shavers, Al Nicholas, and many others. In the second half of the '50s he left France for New York City, garnering a steady job at the Metropole and recording with several all-star aggregations. Eventually he went back to Paris, recording a pair of albums as a leader in the '70s. Near the close of his career as a jazz pianist, this artist expressed interest in focusing more on composition.