Tom Lawton grew up in Arcola, Pa., and attended Methacton High School, where he was a brilliant, but chronically truant student. He displayed great promise as a classical pianist, dabbled in British rock and roll, and eventually fell into jazz. He was abetted in his early education by Philly legend Gerald Price, who gave Tom his early pointers in the art.
He later began studies in Philadelphia with renowned pianist Bernard Peiffer, who had emigrated here from France. After Bernard's death, Tom began a long association with the late bassist Al Stauffer, who had accompanied Peiffer for several years.
Tom and Al were once among Philly's most visible proponents of free improvisation and were often seen at the Painted Bride and Khyber Pass back when those venues still supported the style. In ensuing years, they were seen playing more subdued (but no less creative) jazz styles at the Fountain Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel. Tom now just subs at the Four Seasons, but can be seen frequently at Chris' Jazz Cafe.
He teaches at the University of the Arts and Bucks Community College and is considered by many to be one of Philadelphia's brightest undiscovered talents. His playing is awe-inspiring and he defines "two handed" piano playing.
Class Schedule, Spring 2014
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