Hal Schaefer, world-class jazz pianist, has had a rich and eclectic carer that has bridged several worlds -- from Classical to Swing and Jazz to film composition and coaching some of the most notable stars of the 20th Century. Considered a rising star of Progressive Jazz in the 1950's, he is an extraordinary pianist with a distinctive musical approach that combines a lush romanticism with a strong sense of swing.
Hal's journey as a professional pianist began at the age of 12 in his native New York City. While still in his teens, he joined a big band and toured the country, ending up in Los Angeles in the 1940's, in the middle of a progressive jazz scene. He played in bands led by Benny Carter, Harry James, Boyd Raeburn and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Hal became an accompanist for Peggy Lee, Billy Eckstine and other singers, and was befriended by and became the protége of the great Duke Ellington, who gave him his 21st birthday party.