Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Before he began leading his own jazz group, pianist Randy Waldman made a comfortable living for many years as a session musician and arranger, working on everything from jazz to pop to R&B to film soundtracks. Waldman began playing piano at age five and performed with the Northwestern University band while still in high school. After graduation, he was hired to tour with Frank Sinatra; his next gig was with the Lettermen, after which he relocated to Los Angeles. He toured with Minnie Riperton, Lou Rawls, Paul Anka, and George Benson, the latter of whom hired Waldman to be his musical director and arranger for the next seven years. Eventually, Waldman quit to concentrate on his studio work, for which his reputation had been steadily growing. Waldman played piano (and occasionally trumpet) on a wide variety of recordings by high-profile artists, as well as a plethora of major-studio film soundtracks. Waldman's co-arrangement of the West Side Story song "Somewhere," on Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album, won a Grammy in 1985. During the '90s, he branched out into occasional production work as well. In 1998, Waldman finally released his first solo album, Wigged Out, on his own Whirly Bird label; featuring his new trio of bassist John Patitucci and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, the record featured ten classical compositions given jazz treatments. Waldman subsequently signed to Concord Jazz, and issued the follow-up, UnReel, in 2001, featuring jazz interpretations of familiar TV and film songs and themes.