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    Michel Petrucciani

    12/28/1962

    Michel Petrucciani

    Biography

    Michel Petrucciani (28 December 1962 – 6 January 1999) was a French jazz pianist. From birth he had osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disease that causes brittle bones and, in his case, short stature. He became one of the most accomplished jazz pianists of his generation despite his health condition and very short life span. Michel Petrucciani came from an Italo-French family (his grandfather was from Naples) with a musical background. His father Tony played guitar, his brother Louis played bass, and his brother Philippe also plays the guitar. Michel was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, which is a genetic disease that causes brittle bones and, in his case, short stature. It is also often linked to pulmonary ailments. The disease caused his bones to fracture over 100 times before he reached adolescence and kept him in pain throughout his entire life. "I have pain all the time. I'm used to having hurt arms," he said. In Michel's early career, his father and brother occasionally carried him because he could not walk far on his own unaided. In certain respects he considered his disability an advantage, as he got rid of distractions like sports that other boys tended to become involved in. And he hints that his disability was helpful in other parts of his life. He said: "Sometimes I think someone upstairs saved me from being ordinary." At an early age, Michel saw Duke Ellington on television and wished to become a pianist like him. When Michel was four, his father bought him a toy piano of his own, but Michel smashed the piano with a toy hammer. "When I was young, I thought the keyboard looked like teeth," he said. "It was as though it was laughing at me. You had to be strong enough to make the piano feel little. That took a lot of work." Soon after this, Michel's father bought him a real piano. From the beginning, Petrucciani had always been musical, reportedly humming Wes Montgomery solos by the time he learned to speak. He began learning classical piano at the age of four, and was making music with his family by the age of nine. The musician who would prove most influential to Petrucciani was Bill Evans, to whom he began listening at around the age of ten. Petrucciani's layered harmonies, lyrical style, and articulation of melody have always been linked most strongly to this early exposure to Evans. Petrucciani gave his first professional concert at the age of 13. At this point of his life, he was still quite fragile and had to be carried to and from the piano. His hands were average in length, but his size meant that he required aids to reach the piano's pedals. Petrucciani felt he needed to travel to Paris to begin his musical career, but he found it difficult to leave home. His father was protective, constantly concerned for his son's well-being and reluctant to put him in any danger. Petrucciani's drummer Aldo Romano said of Michel's father: "[He] was an idiot. He didn't trust anybody. He wanted to keep Petrucciani as a partner, to play music with. He was very jealous. So I had to fight to take him to Paris, because his father didn't want me to, because he wanted to keep him, like you would cage a monster." ... Source: Article "Michel Petrucciani" from Wikipedia in English, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

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    Michel Petrucciani

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