Jazz Pianist Fred Crane Dies At 57
DALLAS (AP) _ Jazz pianist Fred Crane has died of a heart attack following a performance with famed trumpeter Al Hirt. He was 57.
Crane, who had been living in Dallas, died Monday at Ruidoso, N.M. A funeral service was scheduled for Friday.
The composer and accompanist’s intuitive style and easy-going manner made him a regular with such greats as Hirt, Doc Severinsen and Johnnie Mercer.
″His death is such a personal loss that you can’t begin to think about what a loss it is musically,″ Severinsen said. ″He was a musician’s musician, a perfect gentleman and a friend.″
Crane recorded the album ″Night Journey″ with Severinsen.
″As a musician, he was incredible,″ said Hirt. ″He was a complete, wonderful musician. He was at home with jazz, rock ‘n’ roll or high society. As an individual, he was a very warm and loving, solid family man with no enemies.″
Crane played regularly with Hirt after meeting him more than 30 years ago in New Orleans, and recorded several albums with him.
He was born in Greenville, S.C., and grew up in Virginia. His family said he was self-taught and began picking out tunes on the piano as a small child.
He moved to Dallas in 1966 where he was in demand as a composer by companies producing jingles and background music for commercials. His most recent work included the music for Muse Air commercials and Martin Mull’s ″Mr. Telephone″ commercials for Metromedia Long Distance.
He also had been touring with Hirt and performing as a soloist.