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Ted Gericke

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Ted is a treasure trove of jazz history, and the discerning listener will notice quotes from original performances pop up in his improvisations. You can tell it’s not just some kid playing changes out of a fakebook. Ted KNOWS these tunes.                         - - -  Jan Klinewicz (PhillyJazz.Org)


Make Music Day is a global celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and on Friday, June 21st 2013, for the first time ever, the “City of Brotherly Love” joined in with over 500 other cites world-wide to celebrate  the occasion. Think of it as a city wide, musical showcase presenting the whole gamut of musical expression available in the city of brotherly love, from Rock and Gospel, to Punk and Hiphop, to Classical and Jazz. Philadelphia Jazz Project joined the effort by presenting three events showcasing some of the finest Jazz artists in the region. One of those events was an eight hour, Piano Extravaganza at Jacobs Music in downtown Philly. This event presented eight pianists primarily performing solo.

One of those pianists was Ted Gericke.


One of the things I appreciated about Ted Gerike was the fact that he listened while playing, so that the music we made was negotiated between him and me. He never played in the manner of 'Let me show you what I can do' or 'Watch me do this.' He was focused on making the best music we could make. I enjoyed playing with him and felt he was under-appreciated for the gift that he had.                             - - -  Jymie Merritt


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Ted Gericke was a Phildelphia-based, Camden, New Jersey born pianist and drummer. A brilliant performer, Gericke worked for almost 20 years as the house pianist at the Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia. He was introduced to the wonders of Bebop at age 12 by his mother. She took him to a concert featuring Teddy Wilson, Don Byas, Red Rodney and Charlie Rice at the Academy of Music. Gericke was smitten by the music and would later become a helper for that concert's producer and radio/television host, Bob Horn. Horn was the original creator of the television show Bandstand, which would later launch the career of Dick Clark. Gericke who had taken piano lessons as a youngster, switched to drums. After a period, he switched back to the piano and it remained his primary instrument for the rest of his life.


We at PJP met Ted Gericke a few months previous to the concert. We found him to possess all of the qualities of the crotchety old guys that we read about and see in movies and televisions shows, as well as all of the exuberance and youthful enthusiasm of a teen. Whenever he talked about the music, it became clear that age is only a number. His eyes would light up and he'd share a tale as if he were reliving it all over again.


On June 21st, 2013 at Jacobs Music, Ted Gericke put in a remarkable performance. He was a little tired he said. He was a little nervous and his balance was a little off. He couldn't stand for long. He showed us his hands. He had a tremor: That shakiness that some older people experience, that causes younger people to worry. But, on that day, Ted was more worried than we were.


All of that worry and intrepedation disappeared when he sat down at the piano. He delivered a brilliant solo piano performance, filled all of the humorous verbal quips that he could muster. References to Monk, Bud, Duke, Dizzy and Bird filled the set. It might have been just another set at the Prime Rib [where he played for 22 years] for him, but for us, it was magic.


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On August 7th, 2016, at age 83, Ted Gericke faded from this life and became an ancestor. He will surely be missed.


Philadelphia Jazz Project offers the June 21st, 2013, Make Music Philly, solo piano performance by  Ted Gericke as a FREE download mixtape, as well as a tribute to his living legacy. Please enjoy the music and share your Ted Gericke stories, because it is through our memories and our talltales that our musical heroes truly live on.


Downloading: To download, click the download links below, when page with audio appears, let it download to your browser and then go to File/Save Page As... Be sure to save file as mp3.


Gericke Mixtape CoverTED GERICKE

Live At Jacobs Music 2013

Released May 2017


Featuring a solo piano performance by Ted Gericke from Friday, June 21st, 2013.


Duration: 45 minutes

File Size: 65 MB




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This mixtape is a production of The Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.


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Tags : TedGericke JymieMerritt MakeMusicDay MakeMusicPhilly PianoExtravaganza Bebop Swing JazzPiano JacobsMusic ThePrimeRib SocietyHillHotel JanKlinewicz TheloniousMonk BudPowell DukeEllington CharlieParker DizzyGillespie PhillyJazz.Org


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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.