Somerset

Jazz pianist Edward Hardy, 93, reunited with band after decades

  • 13 January 2016
  • From the section Somerset
Media captionEdward Hardy from Somerset played in a jazz band for 30 years

A 93-year-old jazz pianist who played in a band for 30 years has been reunited with his group after decades.

Staff at the Somerset care home where Edward Hardy lives placed an online ad for musicians to play with the jazz pianist in December.

More than 80 musicians answered the appeal including former bandmates of Mr Hardy, who has dementia.

Sam Kinsella, of the Wookey home, said: "He couldn't really comprehend it until they actually came together."

Image caption More than 80 people answered the appeal for musicians to play with the jazz pianist including Mr Hardy's former band mates

Mr Hardy, a resident at Mellifont Abbey Care Home with his 91-year-old wife Betty, was a jazz pianist for decades, but had not played in nearly 25 years.

"I remember the day Ed started playing again. He hesitated for about 30 seconds and then started playing some amazing tracks to a ridiculous standard," said Mr Kinsella, the home's activities co-ordinator.

"It's really amazing because even though he's got dementia - you can name a tune and he can just play it."

Image caption The band including trumpeter Dave Payne, 67, guitarist Arthur Rice, 66, and drummer Ron Foster, 88, played together for the first time in nearly 30 years

As the appeal for players "snowballed", the home was inundated with calls from musicians, who included his former bandmates.

"They're all from around the Somerset area but they had no idea where Ed was," said Mr Kinsella.

"He hasn't played with the band for the last 20 or 30 years and couldn't really comprehend it until they actually came together but when they start playing together and talking about the old times - that's when it started coming back to him."

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