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Spanish jazz pianist Tete Montoliu dies of lung cancer

August 24, 1997

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) _ Pianist Tete Montoliu, one of Spain’s most popular jazz artists, died of lung cancer Sunday. He was 64.

Montoliu, whose full name was Vicente Montoliu Massana, had been hospitalized since Aug. 1, the Barcelona Clinic Hospital said in a statement. He failed to respond to cancer treatment and his condition deteriorated rapidly, the hospital said.

Montoliu had been blind since birth. He is said to have begun demonstrating his exceptional talent at the piano when he was four. At 16, he joined the main musical school in his native Barcelona and later went on to concentrate on the works of another blind artist, Art Tatum.

A devoted fan of Thelonius Monk, Montoliu first broke onto the international scene when he was invited on a European tour by Lionel Hampton in 1955.

He went on to play with other celebrated jazz artists including Dexter Gordon, Ben Wester and Stephane Grapelli.

By the early 1960s, he was recognized as one of Europe’s top jazz musicians and regularly was packing clubs in Spanish cities, the rest of Europe and the United States.

His most notable recordings include ``Body and Soul″ (1971), ``Tete a Tete″ (1976), ``The Music I Like To Play″ (1986) and ``The Man From Barcelona (1990).

He is survived by his wife, Montserrat Garcia-Albea. Funeral arrangements were not released.

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