Virg Dzurinko

Jazz pianist (and occasional vocalist) Virg Dzurinko became interested in jazz improvisation in the early 1970s after hearing a record of Lennie Tristano’s and learning, to her astonishment, that he was living in Queens, teaching and presiding over a thriving jazz performance scene. Through Lennie, she found her way to Connie Crothers, with whom she studied for ten years.

Virg has been playing in clubs in New York City since the mid-1980s. She was lucky enough to have had a long-running gig at the late, lamented ‘J’s’ on the Upper West Side. During the seven years that ‘J’s’ was (arguably) the best spot for jazz in the city, she formed a trio with Alex Gressel on bass and and Ed Ornowski on drums, and then expanded this to a quartet featuring Gary Levy on alto sax. Following the demise of ‘J’s,’ she worked at ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’ in Jan Leder’s quartet and with the Charley Krachy Quartet, featuring Charley on tenor sax and Joe Solomon on bass. She and Alex Gressel also had a steady piano/bass gig at ‘La Folie’ on the Upper East Side. And she was the solo house piano player for years at ‘Bondini’s’ in the West Village.

In a less public but no less important setting, Virg began performing when, as a student, she was invited to play at Lennie Tristano’s studio in Queens. She later had the sad honor of being included among the roster of musicians who performed at the 1979 memorial concert for Lennie at Town Hall. In 1983 Virg was presented by the Lennie Tristano Jazz Foundation in her first solo concert.

In addition to performing in clubs and in concert, Virg has composed music for documentary films, television and animated cartoons. With Greg Ford, she co-wrote the tune Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives, sung by Mel Tormé in the Warner Bros. Daffy Duck cartoon "Night of the Living Duck." This song is included on the Rhino Records CD "Mel Tormé at the Movies," which was released in 1999.

Virg lives and teaches in Manhattan. "Fun City" is her first CD on the New Artists label.