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Don Shirley, Pianist With His Own Genre, Dies at 86

Donald Shirley, a pianist and composer who gathered classical music with jazz and other forms of popular music under a singular umbrella after being discouraged from pursuing a classical career because he was black, died on April 6 at his home in Manhattan. He was 86. Don Shirley (born January 29, 1927)was an American-Jamaican jazz pianist and composer. Shirley's prodigious piano skills were recognized early and Shirley began his career as a composer and virtuoso performer at a young age. Don Shirley's music is hard to categorize. It is possible to say that as an arranger-composer he treats each piece of music as a new composition, not just an arrangement. Don plays Standards in a non-standard way. He is a virtuoso, playing everything from show tunes, to ballads, to his personal arrangements of Negro spirituals, to jazz, and always with the overtone of a classically-trained musician who has utmost respect for the music he is playing. NYTimes Obit | Wikipedia