Pianist Frank Hewitt, born October 23, 1935, died Thursday 9/5/02 of complications from cancer.
Frank Hewitt was a mainstay on the NY jazz scene from the mid-1950s until his passing. He played as a sideman with many notable musicians, including Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, John Coltrane, Howard McGhee, Cecil Payne, Arthur Prysock, and appeared frequently with the late Clarence C" Sharpe. He appeared in 1961 in The Living Theater's production of The Connection. Over the last eight years, Frank was the featured artist at Smalls, appearing thrice weekly. The acknowledged master at Smalls, he influenced a generation of young jazz musicians.
Among other musicians, Frank was recognized as a master of bebop piano, noted for his steady drive and sophistication. His main influences were Elmo Hope, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell. Frank is sometimes compared with C" Sharpe in having influenced a generation of NY musicians while largely unrecognized by the public at large.
At Smalls, Frank was an important friend and influence on us, and we are greatly aggrieved at his passing. He will be missed.