The pianist Ralph Sharon, best known for his long highly successful tenure as pianist and musical director for singer Tony Bennett, died at home in Colorado at the end of March aged 91.
Born in London in September 1923, Sharon’s mother was a pianist for silent films and Ralph began a career in music as a young man. While still in England he played in the Ted Heath band after the second world war ended, moving on to resume a playing acquaintance with Victor Feldman (later famous for ‘Seven Steps to Heaven’ the title track of a Miles Davis 1963 album) before forming his own sextet at the beginning of the 1950s which he led for three years. He then made the move to the States where he accompanied singer Chris Connor among other artists before auditioning for Bennett in 1957.
Sharon introduced Bennett to what became his signature song, ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco,’ which went on win Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1962, and the pianist was the musical director for all of the 10 Grammy Awards that Bennett won between 1962 and 2002.