Dave Grusin as an "accompanist." The concept is an intriguing one, and highlights his receptiveness and communication with other musicians. His oft-cited sensitivity as a player was there from the beginning, for in addition to working with jazz-oriented groups in college, he was sought after as an accompanist for both an innate ability to relate with other musicians (particularly singers) as well as his "capacity to support a lyric musically."
No less a source than lyricist Alan Bergman has also highlighted Dave Grusin's pianist's understanding of how much words can mean, saying “He knows about songs and singers.”
It was this exquisite skill which enabled him to turn a two-week engagement as accompanist to Andy Williams into seven years at the top of popular music, not only as pianist and conductor, but musical director of NBC's “Andy Williams Show.”
While the job caused his focus to turn more towards arranging, orchestration, conducting and administration, the Andy Williams years were ones never far from the piano, and there are ample tastes of his stylings on a number of the singers albums, particularly “Warm and Willing."
The fact that he was sought after by such singers as Peggy Lee and Carmen MacRae is further testament to his arranger's feel for a lyric. (And check out “Nice Work” on “The Gershwin Connection” for one very special instrumental treatment of a lyric!)
Andy Williams, who'd been quick to spot Dave Grusin's musical sensitivity, encouraged his conductor's piano talents, and was instrumental in the cutting of a first solo album, “Subways Are For Sleeping,” the piano trio recording for Epic.
But it wasn't his very first solo record.
Go to: Dave Grusin's Real First Album