Roger Kellaway, pianist, arranger and composer, was born in
Newton, Massachusetts on November 1, 1939. He studied piano as a child, became interested
in jazz through the recordings of George Shearing, and taught himself to play double bass.
He studied piano, bass, and composition at the New England Conservatory (1957-59), which
he left to play bass with Jimmy McPartland and the trumpeter Ralph Marterie. In New
York he worked for five years as a studio pianist. He also played with Kai Winding's group
and belonged to quintets led by Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (1963) and Clark Terry and Bob
He made classic recordings with Ben Webster (1964), Oliver Nelson (1964), Wes Montgomery (1965), and Sonny Rollins (1965), before moving to Los Angeles to continue doing studio work and to play in Don Ellis' big band. There he also worked as a musical director for the popular singer Bobby Darin (1967-69) and as a performer, arranger, composer, and producer in film, television, and recording studios. At the same time he performed and recorded with Tom Scott (intermittently from 1967-74); toured with the popular singer Joni Mitchell (1974); and recorded with Mundell Lowe (1974); Carmen McRae (1975), for whom he also wrote arrangements and produced; Jimmy Knepper (1977), and a quintet led by Sims and Harry Edison (1978).
As a composer, Kellaway is a veteran of twenty-two film scores - and received an Academy Award nomination for his dramatic score to Streisand's "A Star is Born". His most prized television credit is his original composition, "Remembering You" - the closing theme for "All in the Family". In 1988 he was honored with a Grammy award for his music on the album "Memos From Paradise" for Eddie Daniels.
His acclaimed "Cello Quartet" founded in 1969 and described by some as "crossover," "chamber -jazz" and by others as the beginning of New Age was the first of many projects that moved him into the classical field. Other classical works include: a ballet commission for George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet, orchestral pieces for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The National Symphony, and the New American Orchestra; a variety of chamber works for several Carnegie Hall performances; and the world premiere of his concerto, "Songs of Ascent," commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, conducting.
Recent projects include: "Windows" (1993) - an album released on the Angel label - in which Kellaway uses an instrumentation modified from that of his original Cello Quartet; and "Familiar Faces", a composition for brass quintet that was premiered by the Brass Ring at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut (1995), where Kellaway was also presented with the Merten Composer's Honorary Award.
In 1984 Kellaway returned to New York where he was often found performing in a duo with Dick Hyman at Michael's Pub. From 1987 Kellaway collaborated on eight recording sessions with the late master bassist, Red Mitchell, including the first CD release on the new Concord Records Maybeck duo series. They made numerous tours of Europe, especially in Scandinavia, and the USA.
As a solo pianist, Kellaway has recorded on Concord Jazz' acclaimed Maybeck Recital Hall Series, and has toured Japan with nine other legendary pianists in the "100 Golden Fingers" tour that will be repeated in June 1997 for the fifth time. His most recent CD-release is entitled "Soaring" and includes all original compositions. Other recent solo recordings can be found on Piano Disc.
Mr. Kellaway is one of the most in demand accompanists and arrangers for jazz and popular vocalists. In 1993 he played piano on all the tracks and wrote a string arrangement of "Prelude to a Kiss" for Diane Schuur's album "Love Songs". For the Natalie Cole CD "Take a Look" he played piano on three of the tracks. Since 1991 he has toured and recorded three CDs with Norwegian jazz vocalist Magni Wentzel. His discography runs now to more than 200 albums.
"Inside & Out" (Concord Records) with the great cornetist Ruby Braff was released in 1996 and received raving reviews - "If five stars means excellence, give this one 10!" wrote one critic.
Marian McPartland and Billy Taylor have featured Roger Kellaway on their popular radio and television programs. Recently he composed the dramatic score and produced the music for the film, "Journey of the Heart" aired on CBS.