Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Amadie, Jimmy (James)

Amadie, Jimmy (James), pianist, educator; b. Philadelphia, PA, 5 January 1937. Beginning in the late 1950s, he jammed regularly around his home town, worked with Mel Torme (recording with him in 1963), Woody Herman (writing too?), Red Rodney and Charlie Ventura. He was for a time house pianist at the Red Hill Inn in Pennsauken, N.J., where leading names played, and in 1960 he led the house trio at N.Y.'s Copacabana.

But having begun the piano relatively late he engaged in a practice regimen so intense-he claims up to 80 hours a week-that he seriously injured his hands with tendonitis, eventually undergoing four operations for reconstructive surgery. He couldn't touch the instrument from about 1967 to 1995 and even today can only play for a few minutes at a time, every few weeks. Only by making first takes less than once a month over the course of 18 months was he able to complete his first solo recording released in 1995. Steve Allen has written a lyric to the title track, "Always With Me." Amadie has also composed and conducted music for National Football League films. He composes and writes his self-published books by dictating them. For his books he developed a harmonic approach based on his system for creating chord voicings, and a melodic approach based on tension and release which he uses to integrate modal, tonal and bi-tonal playing.


A short film about Amadie, produced by Dr. Billy Taylor was shown on CBS Sunday Morning, April 13, 1997.

Always With Me (1995), Savoring Every Note (1998)

J.A., Harmonic Foundation for Jazz and Popular Music" and "Jazz Improv: How to Play It and Teach It (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.).
B. Primack, Jazz Times Jan. 1998
F. Davis, liner note to Always With Me
T. Moon, Phil. Inquirer, Feb. 4, 1996
Modern Maturity, Nov./Dec.1996

Contact information:
email: jamadie@ix.netcom.com

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