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IN FULL SWING; BIG-BAND PIANIST TO PLAY BENEFIT.

Byline: Greg Botonis Daily News Staff Writer

Growing up in a family of musicians - his mother a violinist, his father a violinist and well-known band leader - Ray Sherman began learning piano at the age of 4. His aunt, a piano teacher, began lessons with him, and soon after, he was introduced to the world of swing.

``I used to joke that my parents wanted me to learn piano because they needed an accompanist,'' said Sherman. ``But I think they saw how much I enjoyed it. I would get up in the morning and head straight for the piano to practice my lessons.''

In 1939, Sherman moved from his boyhood home of Chicago to Los Angeles where he began performing and recording with artists like Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Les Brown, Johnny Green, Dan Barrett and many more.

``It was a lot of fun,'' said Sherman. ``Great music and a bunch of great guys.''

Just back from a performing tour of Japan, the 75-year-old Lake Los Angeles pianist will lead the combo at a benefit concert for the Antelope Valley Indian Museum.

The ``Swing into Spring'' dance concert will run from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Palmdale Cultural Center, 704 E. Palmdale Blvd. A donation of $20 is requested and tickets are available by calling (805) 942-6050, (805) 943-8152 or (805) 942-2946.

Playing with Sherman at the concert will be Abe Most, a big band clarinetist who has performed for hundreds of motion picture and television soundtracks. He was the stand-in for Goodman and Artie Shaw in the Time-Life ``Swing Era'' recordings.

Sherman has played on several albums, including the ``Swing Era'' records. His two most recent - ``Piano Chicago Style'' last year and ``Ray Sherman at the Keyboard'' in 1994 - were a new undertaking for him.

``They're both solo albums,'' said Sherman. ``I've always liked the accompaniment so I had to rework my style a bit to make it sound like I had all the backing.''

Twenty years ago, Sherman and his wife moved to Lake Los Angeles to get away from the city but still be close enough to do studio work, which he has done for the past several years.

``The kids were moved out and we decided we didn't need to live in the middle of the city,'' said Sherman. ``They had great deals out here and I was still close enough to go into the city for business.''

Sherman's plans for the future aren't much different from those of his past.

``I'm just going to keep playing,'' said Sherman. ``I don't have anything specific in mind but I won't retire or anything like that.''

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2 Photos

PHOTO (1-2--Color) Ray Sherman, who will be performing at an Antelope Valley fund-raiser, plays his piano at his Lake Los Angeles home Monday.

Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 9, 1999
Words:479
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