Jazz composer and pianist Eddie Finckel
gravitated to jazz when he was a young boy, growing up in Washington, D.C. Finckel picked up the piano by listening to solos by Teddy Wilson
and Art Tatum
. The young pianist started composing at an early age and, by the 1940s, held a position as staff arranger for the bands of Boyd Raeburn
, Les Brown
, and Gene Krupa
. Working with drummer Buddy Rich
, Finckel found himself behind such tunes as "Leave Us Leap," "Gypsy Mood," and "Starburst." Starting in the 1950s, Finckel turned his attention towards music education, becoming the musical director of an art-based private school in Short Hills, NJ. He held the position for 40 years, until his passing on May 12, 2001, at the age of 83.