TOMMY LINEHAN was born in North Adams, Mass. in 1912. His father
was of Irish descent, his mother French-Canadian. His mother played
the piano and all of her 13 brothers and sisters were musical.
He started the study of music at 5 and continued for nine years.
His first teachers were nuns at a French parochial school. His
early training in harmony was entirely in French and he still
"thinks" musically in that language. He contemplated
a concert career but changed plans when he became interested in
dance music at 14. Tommy jobbed with local bands for two years
before going to Bermuda to play a hotel engagement with a four
piece combination. He worked two years with various groups around
Stanford, Conn., then went into New York with Earl Bailey's society
band. He broke away from playing for a short time when he opened
an arranging office with Graham Prince. He resumed playing in
1935 as a member of Charles Baulanger's Orchestra. He joined Woody
Herman a year later and as pianist for that organization received
national recognition as a stylist. He's best known for his renditions
of blues and boogie woogie. He became interested in the latter
style as a result of hearing the recordings of Clarence "Pinetop"
Smith. He left Woody late in 1942 to make his permanent residence
in the Hollywood area.
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