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Jazz Pianist Jorge Dalto Dead at Age 39


NEW YORK (AP) _ Argentine-born jazz pianist Jorge Dalto, whose version of ″This Masquerade″ with guitarist George Benson won a Grammy in 1976 and made him famous as a top fusion musician, died Tuesday after a long illness, his family said Wednesday. He was 39.

Dalto died in his sleep after a long bout with cancer, which had kept him away from the music scene for more than a year, said family spokeswoman Dina D’Oyen.

Born July 7, 1948, in Jorge Perez, Argentina, Dalto studied piano in his home country and came to the United States in 1969.

In 1973, he settled in New York, playing with Latin jazz groups such as Tito Puente’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and the Machito band.

Shortly afterward, he became a member of his fellow countryman Gato Barbieri’s group and got involved in the mid-1970s fusion movement, which mixed jazz and rock.

Dalto played with one of the genre’s top groups, Spyro Gyra, and in 1976 he recorded a celebrated version of ″This Masquerade″ with Benson in the album ″Breezin,″ which won a 1976 Grammy and went platinum after selling 4 million copies around the world.

Dalto also played with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, Cuban saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and flutist Dave Valentin and traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe with various groups.

Some of his own albums, such as ″Rendezvous″ and ″New York Nightline,″ were also released in Japan to rave reviews.

Dalto is survived by his wife, Adela, who is a singer, and two children.

Funeral services will be held Nov. 4 at St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan and Dalto will be buried in his hometown in Argentina, D’Oyen said.

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