New York jazz pianist Mike Longo has died from COVID-19. He was 83 years old.
Mike’s wife Dorothy Longo confirmed the cause of death to WBGO. Longo was admitted to a New York hospital on March 17. The pianist—who had pre-existing medical conditions—succumbed to the disease on Sunday, March 22.
Longo is known for his association with Dizzy Gillespie, for whom he served as musical director and bandmate from the late ’60s to the mid-’70s alongside bassist Paul West and saxophonist/flautist James Moody. Longo played on Gillespie’s live album Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac, and others such as Portrait of Jenny.
Longo was also mentored as a teen by Cannonball Adderley, who was then band director at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, the Florida city that Longo’s family moved to from his native Cincinnati.
Longo also had a prolific solo career, most recently releasing Live From New York! in 2013 with the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble. Longo had performed with the Ensemble as recently as March 10.
RIP, Mike Longo. Revisit his 1972 solo album The Awakening below: