Tommy Lineham

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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