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Jane Jarvis

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Recognition of pianist Jane Jarvis' talents has certainly come late in life; she did not record her debut as a leader until she was 70 and did not become more widely known until a decade later! Ironically she had been a bit of a child prodigy and she worked on a local radio station in Gary, Indiana as an accompanist during a children's program at age 12. When she was 13 her parents died in a train crash. That same year Jarvis became a staff pianist at WJKS-WIND Chicago where she had opportunities to accompany (among others) Ethel Waters, Sophie Tucker and Paul Whiteman's band. Always hard-working, Jarvis eventually gained a B.S. from Pace University (she attended five different conservatories along the way) and she was quite active in music (while rearing two children) throughout the Midwest. In addition to working on radio station WTMJ, Jarvis had opportunities to play with such visiting jazz stars as Eddie South, Billy Butterfield and Maxine Sullivan. She worked for 18 years at the Muzak corporation, eventually becoming Vice President. She also played organ regularly in the 1950's for the Milwaukee Braves home games, following it up with a longtime association (1964-79) as the New York Mets' organist. During the same period that she worked with the Metz and for Muzak, Jarvis played occasionally in New York clubs with such players as Roy Eldridge, Helen Humes, Richie Kamuca and Ruby Braff. After retiring as a baseball organist, Jarvis finally became a fulltime jazz pianist, playing for a long time at Zinno's (a Greenwich Village restaurant) with Milt Hinton. Jane Jarvis recorded two albums for Audiophile (1985 and 1988) and one for Arbors (1995), gaining some recognition for her work with the Statesmen of Jazz (starting in 1984) with whom she also recorded. She has also started an annual jazz party/festival called the Jane Jarvis Jazz Invitational held each November in Florida. A solid mainstream pianist, Jarvis had managed to retain both her enthusiasm and sense of swing into her 80's.

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Birth Name:

Jane Nossette Jarvis


October 31, 1915 in Vincennes, IN

Years Active:

'80s, '90s