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Charles Bateman

Born on 6-10-1923. He was born in Youngstown, OH. He was accomplished in the area of the Arts. He later died on 1-24-2004.
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Charles Bateman was a composer, soloist, accompanist and band leader. He also tuned and repaired pianos to earn money, before he attained constant demand status. In his heyday, he could be found on stage with the likes of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Bateman moved to Orlando and joined the Central Florida jazz scene after retiring and moving from New York City in the early 1990s. "I hate to say this, but it's true," said Anita Turner Bateman, his wife, "Charlie was a musical genius."

Charles was born in Youngstown, Ohio. After his family moved to Buffalo, New York, he began playing with jazz trios at the age of eleven. That's correct at the age of eleven! . His familiarity with the piano came from a life steeped in music. His mother and father were pianists. She played gospel; he played the blues. His sisters were also pianists. At sixteen, he began private study of classical music with Jeno Swislowski, a master pianist from Poland. Jeno recognized the musical gift possessed by Charlie and provided him with a scholarship for further study under Bruno Eisner, from Berlin, Germany. This rare opportunity to study with a peer of Horowitz motivated Charlie to seek out the bright lights of Broadway, at the age of twenty-one.

Prior to moving to the Big Apple, Charlie was the youngest pianist to every sign a contract to play, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra at the ripe old age of eighteen! A partial list of the New York venues Charlie performed in includes Carnegie Hall; Cafe Society; the Original Birdland; the Waldorf; Village Gate; Sweet Basil's; Blue Note; Metropolitan Museum, and the upper crust World Trade Center Vista Hotel, for approximately two year. Charlie performed on the bill with Sy Oliver, Lucky Millinder, John (Rabbit) Hodges, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Cab Calloway, Louis "Sachmo" Armstrong, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, Stan Getz, Panama Francis, Lena Horne and other musical luminaries too numerous to list here.

Bateman first came to the Orlando area, not for jazz, but for a bridge tournament. He liked the warm weather and the area, Anita said. The couple built a house in Deltona but continued to live and work in New York. It was the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that persuaded him to make a permanent move. He had finished his regular gig in the Trade Center's Vista International Hotel and had gone home. The blast that claimed six lives occurred at 12:18 p.m. the next day. Damage from the bombing forced the hotel to close, so the Batemans decided it was the right time to move into their Volusia County home. Once there, he recorded three CDs and played regularly with other area musicians.

After his relocation to Orlando, Florida in 1993 Charlie created a musical whirlwind. He was the pianist at the Radisson Hotel for approximately two years and performed in other venues such as the Windermere Country Club, Disney, Eastonville's Zora Neale Hurston Festival; Heathrow Country Club; Mt. Dora and Maitland Jazz Festivals; Sleuths' Dinner Theatre, etc. he performed on the Florida scene with many musical luminaries including Mike Arena, Linda Cole, Barry Smith, Charlie Silva, Miss Jacqueline Jones, Elliot Dyson, Evelyn McGee Stone, Bernie Lee and his friend of long standing, Panama Francis.

Charlie's quiet, reserved exterior belies the fact that he performed throughout South America; performed for three years in the United States Army and holds a black belt in the Seido Style of Karate. One of the greatest testaments to Charlie's pianist skills was the gig he received to play for Nat King Cole's wedding. Listening to Charlie Bateman play the piano is not just a musical experience, it is a happening.

Bateman was an Army veteran of World War II and earned a third-degree black belt in karate. Two of his three sisters, Eva Noles of Buffalo, N.Y., and the late Donnie Duke are Uncrowned Queens. A younger sister Barbara Johnson lives in Jacksonville, Florida.