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About Pinky Winters

West Coast jazz chanteuse Pinky Winters looms large among the vocalists of the postwar era. A compelling and nuanced stylist, she nevertheless remains a virtual cipher among the listening public as a result of a prolonged retirement that included a nearly three-decade hiatus from recording. Born Phyllis Wozniak in Michigan City, IN, on February 1, 1930, she began piano studies at the age of four, she played her first public concert within a year, and throughout her adolescence performed at venues across the northwest Indiana region. After graduating high school Winters briefly tenured at an office job before relocating to Denver, gigging alongside pianist Dick Grove. When Grove and Winters' future husband, bassist Jim Wolf, relocated to Los Angeles in 1953, she soon followed suit, appearing at the Western Avenue club Starlight in a trio with pianist Bud Lavin and drummer Stan Levey. Winters cut her self-titled debut session for the Vantage label in 1954. After releasing the 1958 Argo LP Lonely One, she split from Wolf, later marrying NBC staff saxophonist Bob Hardaway and essentially retiring from music to raise a family. In 1980 saxophonist Lanny Morgan convinced Winters to make a comeback appearance at the L.A. club Donte's. Upon divorcing Hardaway later that year, she began working steadily, in 1982 beginning a personal and professional partnership with pianist Lou Levy, a much-acclaimed accompanist who previously worked with Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald. Winters released Let's Be Buddies, her first new material in 28 years, in 1985. This Happy Madness followed on Verve's French subsidiary in 1994. Following Levy's 2001 death, Winters teamed with pianist/arranger Sir Richard Rodney Bennett for Rain Sometimes. ~ Jason Ankeny

Michigan City, IN