This is a tribute site to the late Don Grolnick (Sept. 23, 1947 - June 1, 1996), jazz pianist, composer, record producer, pop keyboardist, musical director, and ace studio musician. His life was cut short by lymphatic cancer in 1996 at the age of 48. During his lifetime he was renowned in musical circles for his startlingly inventive jazz compositions, jazz piano artistry, and exquisite pop keyboard playing. He straddled the jazz and pop worlds, bringing a subtle brilliance to both. Described by drummer Peter Erskine as “funny, well-read and wise,” he was beloved and respected by musicians everywhere.
Don was a player and composer for some of the groundbreaking jazz ensembles of the 1970s and 80s, including Dreams, The Brecker Brothers, and Steps Ahead. He enjoyed a 25-year musical and personal relationship with James Taylor, acting as pianist and musical director for many of Taylor’s tours, and producing several of Taylor’s albums. He toured or recorded as a keyboard player with many of the great pop musicians of his day, including Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Bette Midler, Phoebe Snow, Aaaron Neville, Roberta Flack, and Luther Vandross. In jazz, he collaborated closely with Michael Brecker, the most brilliant saxophonist of his generation, co-writing songs and producing Grammy-winning albums. Don’s own recordings of acoustic jazz and fusion are still beloved among jazz fans worldwide.
I was married to Don for a brief but wonderful five years. With the help of his friends and fellow musicians, I have created this site as a tribute to Don.
-Jeanne O'Connor, 2020
“Swing, like Love and Death, is a deep,
indeed unfathomable, endlessly fascinating mystery.”