That Gerson Person
A child prodigy who grew up on Malverne, Long Island, Roy Gerson was playing Broadway show tunes by the age of four. His major influence at the time was his computer consultant father, Alvin, who also played the drums in a small band. Roy was able to play many of his parents' favorite songs long before he could read, or even had a formal piano lesson, much to the delight of his father. The elder Gerson's love of jazz standards, Big Band numbers, and Broadway show tunes, along with the rich history and folklore of that era, was never lost on his son. By the age of eleven, Roy had started his own big band playing the music of Goodman, Miller and the great Count Basie. While attending the Manhattan School of Music as a classical piano major, Gerson's powerful and swinging style was making news, and he soon began gigging in the clubs around town. It was during this period that Roy decided what he wanted to do most was to play the piano with his own trio. What he envisioned was a hard driving, always swinging groove. Gerson's performing style has also been strongly influenced by Louis Armstrong, whose masterful blend of musical artistry, showmanship, humor and absolute joy or performing continues to be an inspiration. Roy Gersonâ€™s sound caught on immediately. After a two-year stint at the New York jazz club Zanzibar - his sophisticated swing and youthful exuberance won new fans. Mr. Gerson has since gone on to headline at top jazz clubs around the country. A versatile performer, Gerson's draws from the great composers of the American song book including: George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne. He has even devoted entire concerts to the hard swinging music of Louis Jordan and His Timpani Five. His two-fisted piano is a rarity among today's players. Since his earliest public appearances as a pianist, Roy Gerson has captivated audiences with his brilliant mastery of the keyboard as well as his charismatic performing style. A New York native, Roy Gerson began playing in clubs while still in his teens where he captured the attention of New York Times jazz critic, John Wilson, as a pianist who 'plays with a lusty drive.' Roy Gerson displays a mastery of the stride piano style perfected by such jazz masters as Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. His playing also has a special rhythmic intensity that is rooted in rhythm & blues. Swing is alive and well in the hands of this captivating jazz pianist. Gerson, whom New York Newsday calls 'Pianist Extraordinaire', has been shaking up the country's hottest jazz clubs and cabarets and has been praised by the New York Daily News as â€œone of the country's most dynamic jazz pianists.â€ When leading his Trio, Roy Gerson's ebullient style and passionate desire to involve his audience is always apparent. He acknowledges, 'I love to entertain. I'm having a terrific time when I'm on stage, and I just want my audience to have a great time.' Roy's genuine love of performing has been noted by Tony Bennett: 'What I like best about Roy Gerson is that besides being a great musician, he truly loves to perform and finds great joy in entertaining people.' As both a pianist and band leader, Gerson's stage presence has caught the eye of film directors, including Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola. Allen chose him for Crimes and Misdemeanors where he is featured as the pianist in one of the scenes, while Coppola cast him in the movie The Cotton Club. He now has 19 film credits on his musical resume. Roy Gerson's swinging style shines through his album, That Gerson Person which is drawing strong air play and rave reviews around the country. Look for his newest album, 'Gerson Swings Disney' featuring vocalists: Rosemary Clooney, John Pizzarelli and Michael Feinstein available now. Gerson's early classical influences often embroider his jazz selections: perhaps a touch of Chopin, Liszt, or Bach as a counterpoint to a Gershwin or Rodgers' tune. His good humor is apparent when an occasional Disney theme works it's way into his musical choices. MUSICIANS Roy Gerson â€" Piano Frank Vignola â€" Guitar Lynn Seaton â€" Bass Duffy Jackson â€" Drums Produced by Helen Keane in association with Susan Crow REVIEWS â€œCouldnâ€™t have found a guy who swings betterâ€ DAVID HINCKLEY â€" NEW YORK DAILY NEWS 'Supremely talented ....knows how to royally entertain...keyboard geniusâ€¦ melody passion and improvisation all come together in one glorious package.â€ CHICAGO TRIBUNE '...rich talent...carving his musical direction in the jazz and swing bailiwicks BOSTON GLOBE 'Gerson's infatuation with 1930-40's music, penchant for Basie-like lines and swing style make his album a joyful romp.' JAZZ TIMES.