Liz StoryView in iTunes
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Story studied classical piano while growing up in Southern California and even thought about becoming a music librarian or theorist for a while. Then she heard jazz pianist Bill Evans at a New York club, and the experience changed her perspective on music overnight. Story, who had studied at Juilliard and was enrolled at Hunter College at the time, abandoned her academic program in favor of jazz lessons with Sanford Gold, a teacher Evans had recommended. Back in Los Angeles, she continued her musical education at UCLA and the Dick Grove Music Workshops, but it was a job playing piano at a French restaurant that sparked her major breakthrough as a composer. Since the front casing of the piano was missing, Story had no place to put her sheet music and was forced to improvise freely. Eventually, she put some of her spontaneous compositions on tape and sent them to Windham Hill. Within four days, Will Ackerman had called her back and the contract was signed for her first release, Solid Colors, an album of impressionistic piano miniatures. Over the course of five recordings, including a two-album stint with RCA Novus, Story's style has expanded to include electronic duets with Mark Isham and works for various types of ensembles, yet the piano remains the prominent voice in her finely crafted compositions. ~ Linda Kohanov