Richard “Dick” Hyman (born March 8, 1927, New York City) is an American jazz pianist/keyboardist and composer, best known for his versatility with jazz piano styles. Over a 50 year career, he has functioned as pianist, organist, arranger, music director, and, increasingly, as composer. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 100 albums recorded under his own name and many more in support of other artists.
Dick Hyman was trained classically by his mother's brother, the
concert pianist Anton Rovinsky. Dick's older brother, Arthur, introduced him to the music of Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong, Teddy Wilson, and others. By high school, he was playing in dance bands throughout Westchester County. Hyman completed his freshman year at Columbia University, and in June 1945, he enlisted in the Army, transferred to the Navy, and began playing in the band department. When he returned to Columbia, he won an on-air piano competition, earning him 12 free lessons with Teddy Wilson, the great swing-era pianist who a decade earlier had broken the race barrier as a member of the Benny Goodman Trio. A few years later, Hyman himself became Goodman's pianist.
While developing a facility for improvisation in his own piano style, Hyman has also investigated ragtime and the earliest periods of jazz and has researched and recorded the piano music of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Zez Confrey, Eubie Blake and Fats Waller which he often features in his frequent recitals. Hyman recorded two highly regarded ragtime albums under the pseudonym "Knuckles O'Toole", and included two original compositions.
In the 1960s, he was regularly seen on NBC-TV's weekly musical series Sing Along with Mitch. Other solo recordings include the music of Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. He recorded as a member of the 'Dick Hyman Trio', including a 78 RPM hit called 'Baubles Bangles and Beads.' During the 1970s, he was also member of Soprano Summit.
Hyman served as artistic director for the Jazz in July series at New York's 92nd Street Y for twenty years, a post from which he stepped down in 2004. (He was succeeded in that post by his cousin, Bill Charlap, a highly regarded jazz pianist.) He continues his Jazz Piano at the Y series as well as his post as jazz advisor to The Shedd Institute's Oregon Festival of American Music. In 1995, he was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Jazz Society. Since then, he has received honorary doctorates from Wilkes University, Five Towns College, Hamilton College and the University of South Florida at Tampa, Florida.
Hyman has had an extensive career in New York as a studio musician and won seven Most Valuable Player Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He acted as music director for such television programs as Benny Goodman's final appearance (on PBS) and for In Performance at the White House. For five years (1969–1974), he was the in-studio organist for the stunt game show Beat the Clock. He received an Emmy Award for his original score for Sunshine's on the Way, a daytime drama, and another for musical direction of a PBS Special on Eubie Blake. He continues to be a frequent guest performer with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on the long-running public radio series Riverwalk Jazz, and has been heard on Terry Gross' Fresh Air. He has also collaborated with Ruby Braff extensively on recordings at Arbors Records.
Dick Hyman's Century Of Jazz Piano, an encyclopedic series of solo performances, has been released on Arbors Records. Other new recordings include Thinking About Bix and E Pluribus Duo with Ken Peplowski. Hyman played with the New York Jazz Repertory Company, formed the Perfect Jazz Repertory Quintet (1976), and started writing soundtracks for Woody Allen films. He has recorded frequently during the past several decades (sometimes in duets with Ruby Braff) for Concord, Music Masters, and Reference, among other labels, and ranks at the top of the classic jazz field. (Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)