Pianist Vince Genova died in Queensland on January 17. The following article appeared originally in the Sunshine Coast Daily.
The Sunshine Coast and Australia has lost one of its top jazz musicians to cancer at age 64.
New York-born Vince Genova, who once studied under the great Oscar Peterson and later played piano on Harry Belafonte’s world tour, succumbed to the disease in Nambour Hospital on Wednesday, January 17.
Mr Genova was due to play a gig on Thursday and had a long-standing gig lined up back in El Paso Texas where he had been living with his wife
Leading singer and guitarist Johnny Nicol, who lives on the Sunshine Coast, said the Australian jazz fraternity had lost one of its greatest pianists.
John, who has performed on the Las Vegas club circuit as well as London and throughout Australia, said: “I can’t say that I’ve played and sung with any better pianist anywhere over the past 30 years.
“I first played with Vinnie in the Sydney jazz scene in the mid-1970s and have played with him at countless gigs throughout Australia since then.
“But some of my favourite gigs were at venues around the Sunshine Coast in the late 1990s with Vinnie and Don Burrows. They were magic. Vinnie could play any song in any key.”
Legendary Australian jazzman Don Burrows agreed Mr Genova was “one of the best around.”
“Vince did a lot for jazz piano in Australia, both through his playing
and the various posts he held,” said Mr Burrows.
Coast jazz singer Sue Bond, who with her partner and drummer Geoff Proud, had hired Mr Genova for her quartet this week was shattered.
“He played on my CD and was a singer’s dream,” Ms Bond said.
“I’ve worked with Vince over the past 12 years and as an accompanist he was always one jump ahead of you in a song and he knew exactly where you wanted to go, but could also lead you to places you didn’t know you could go.
“He will be sadly missed as one of the finest piano players in this country.”
President of the Sunshine Coast Jazz Club, Ted O’Connor, said Mr Genova had always supported the Coast jazz scene and club activities.
Mr Genova’s mentor at Pittsburgh University and leading U.S. reed player, Nathan Davis, was also stunned.”I loved Vince like a brother,” Mr Davis said from the U.S. this week.
Mr Genova is survived by his wife Liz and four daughters from previous marriages.
A private cremation service was held.
Australian jazz legend Johnny Nicol will head up a special benefit concert on Saturday, February 3 at the Kawana Community Hall, Nanyima Street, Buddina.
Contact Sunshine Coast Jazz Club president Ted O’Connor on (07) 5491 6017 or Johnny Nicol on (07) 5437 6921 for details.
Photo: Vince (keyboard), Ingrid James,(vocals) and Pat Marchisella (bass) at Stones Corner Cafe in Brisbane in 2006.