Garry was born in Montclair New Jersey where at the age of 10 he began piano lessons. His 7th grade teacher gave him his first jazz record “The Oscar Peterson Trio” which instilled in him the love of jazz. For a few years he played the standards and some light classical pieces. He entered high school at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey where his musical life would change forever. In church at St Benedict’s Garry met The “Queen Of Jazz “Mary Lou Williams”. She offered him lessons for free and took him under her wing.
For the next few years Garry went into NY City, up to 145th St. in Harlem, to study with Mary Lou. It was there that he learned of Miles, Monk, Bud Powell and Cecil Taylor whom Mary was doing a duo concert with at Carnegie Hall. Through a connection of Garry’s mother’s, Mary Lou was asked to perform her mass “Mary Lou’s Mass” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NY City. This was the first time that a Catholic jazz mass would be performed in a major cathedral.
As a junior in high school Garry took the Summer Jazz Workshop at Berklee College Of Music. This is where he realized that music and jazz would be his calling. After high school graduation he returned to Berklee where he met his current teacher of 34 years, Charlie Banacos. After one year at Berklee fellow musician Kenny Werner recommended Garry for a gig in Bermuda as the pianist at The Princess Hotel. He lived on the island with his lady for three years while playing 6 nights a week for various shows and singers.
Read more articles