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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Tommy Flanagan


TOMMY FLANAGAN (pianist, bandleader) was born March 16, 1930 in Detroit Michigan. Universally admired for both his great lyrical style and genial, humble personality, the iconic Flanagan is best known for his stellar accompanist work with Ella Fitgerald. Influenced by piano giants Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson and Bud Powell (who he later substituted for at Birdland in the 50s) his early performances in Detroit were alongside budding legends Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Elvin Jones and Kenny Burrell. Many of Flanagan’s over 100 recordings (including his own projects) are considered jazz classics, appearing with John Coltrane (Giant Steps) Sonny Rollins, (Saxophone Colossus) Charles Mingus and Miles Davis among others. Flanagan led his own series of trios, featuring the young talents of Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash and George Mraz.