Don Militello
Pianist/ Organist


As a performer...
Born in Buffalo in 1954, Don Militello began his studies on the piano at the age of six. He performed in western New York in his teens before attending college at SUNY at Fredonia and The Eastman School of Music. He moved to Miami in the late 70s and received his masters at University of Miami. His group at Miami received a Downbeat award for top college small jazz ensemble. It was in Miami that Don met multi-instrumentalist, Ira Sullivan (formerly with the Red Rodney Quartet). Don toured with Mr. Sullivan throughout Florida and the Southeastern U.S. Their group, Strings Attached, was one of the first bands which featured string players as well as horn players as improvisors in a touring ensemble. Their Pausa recording of the same name, released in 1982, received rave reviews throughout the U.S and Europe. After returning to New York from Miami in 1986, Don toured briefly with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. In the late eighties, Don met jazz vocalist, Irene Reid (Count Basie alum) and performed with her quartet on the Hammond Organ for eighteen years. The quartet, which featured Randy Johnston on guitar, toured Italy, France, Morocco as well as the Continental U.S. The ensemble was featured at numerous events including The East Coast Jazz Festival in Washington and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in New York. The latter event was emceed by jazz DJ, Phil Schapp (WKCR FM). Don also worked extensively with saxophonists, Bill Saxton and Buddy Terry and vocalist, Della Griffin. Don has also made stage appearances with Dizzy Gillespie, Red Rodney, Etta Jones, Gloria Lynne, Arthur Prysock, Dave Liebman, Tal Farlow, Roy Haynes and Eric Alexander.

As a composer...
Don has been involved in numerous projects for film and dance including the short, NYC Joshua Tree a collaboration with film maker, Donna Cameron. The project received the Black Maria Film Festival Juror's Choice Award in 1994. The film is on permanent reserve at MOMA along with a few other collaborations. Another project, "Felice," a Retrospective, was premiered at John Jay College, Lincoln Center and presented by jazz pianist, Billy Taylor.
Most recently, Don scored the music to the dance work, Gotham Trilogy which was performed to a sellout crowd at the St. Marks New Dance Festival in New York. Duane Cyrus, choreographer of the work is a alum of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.
As an educator...
Don has taught jazz a three universities including the University of Florida were he was Visiting Associate Professor. His text, "Playing By Ear, the Inner Voice" published in 1989 (National Guitar Workshop Press) discussed his unique approach to improvising jazz. Don has also worked extensively with young children ages 3-5 in New York at The Berkeley Carroll School and has presented over 100 performances featuring children of all ages.

featuring Randy Johnston

Copyright 1999 Don Militello