Frank Hewitt was a fixture on the New York jazz scene since the mid-fifties. Over the years he played regularly with Cecil Payne, Howard McGhee, Charles Davis, and the late saxophone legend Clarence C Sharpe. He was the featured artist at Smalls for over eight years until his passing on September 5th, 2002 at age 66.
He appeared in the Living Theater's landmark production of The Connection, and played with Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, John Coltrane, among a long list of notables. Musicians acknowledge him as a master, and the most under-recognized bebop pianist of his generation. His influences were Elmo Hope, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk. At Smalls, he influenced a generation of contemporary artists, and pianists from around the world came to hear him.
His few recordings are sought-after collector's items among musicians in New York. After his death, however, his trio recordings began to surface on Smalls Records: We Loved You, Not Afraid to Live, Fresh from the Cooler, and Out of the Clear Black Sky, and the quintet date Four Hundred Saturdays.
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