Tony D’Anna was at home surrounded by great love and music from family and a community of friends, when he peacefully journeyed on into “the Great Mystery” on January 25, 2012.

Sweet and friendly, kind and generous, peaceful and easy going, beautiful and graceful, healthy, tan and glowing, warm and humble, Tony “walked the walk.” A gifted composer, virtuoso pianist, sensitive accompanist and master at his art, Tones presented it with his total dependability and dedication as a professional.

Tony was truly wonderful! So Special! It all came packaged with his great laugh and sense of humor, cute smile, quick wit, hilarious one liners and impeccable timing with joke telling. Of course, all done with that twinkle in his eye!

He loved many instruments and playing music, Chopin, Monk, rivers, hot springs, camping with niece and nephews, sports, movies, playing cards, his cats, and time with family.

Tony was a LA Lakers fan for over fifty years. One would often hear him make a comment seconds before the announcers would. Yes, Zen Tony loved Zen Phil! (Tony was cremated in his Lakers’ T-shirt… He would have loved that.)

Tony served in the Army Reserves in the early 60’s and earned a BA in Music at L.A. City College. A resident of Sonoma County for nearly 40 years, Tony was a much loved and sought after pianist and accompanist. At 71 years of age, he was still working in many musical, theater, and dance worlds.

Maybe you knew him as a dance accompanist in his 31 years at Sonoma State University, his 10 years playing for the Santa Rosa Junior College musical theater productions, or the decades at Cinnabar Theater. Young or well aged, perhaps you were a student, teacher, or choreographer in dance classes he played for be it Ballet, Modern, African, Brazilian, or Eurythmy.

Might be, you delighted in hearing him perform with his exceptional jazz trio or another group such as TOKENKI or recently, PLANET B. It could have been when he backed up jazz and other vocalists at clubs or in recordings with his trio as well as other artists.

You may be one of the congregation or choir members who loved him so. Perhaps it was kids camp, or hanging out at the river and playing volleyball where you met him. He possibly tuned your piano. You could be a good neighbor, family member or long time friend.

You say it was a pleasure to have Tony in your lives – for Tones, it was a pleasure to know you! Having enriched the lives of so many, he will be dearly missed yet joyfully honored. With love and admiration Tony is held in the hearts and influence of those who love him.

Tony’s partner of 24 years, Lisa Pretty, will have his memorial and Life Celebration in the springtime. She thanks this beautiful community for its tremendous outpouring of love and support!

By, Lisa Pretty


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Life Celebration and Benefit for Tony

Dear Friends,
Our most beloved pianist and accompanist Tony D’Anna passed away January 25, 2012  People from all over the music community of Sonoma County and the Bay area want to pay tribute to him and lend finacial support for him to his partner Lisa.  Main Street Station is hosting a life celebration & benefit, Sunday February 12, 2012, called “All That Jazz”, from Noon til 10pm. Jazz musicians who have worked with Tony will be performing and raising dollars.  Main Street Station is donating 20% of their proceeds for the whole day, in addition to collecting donations for The Tony D’Anna “All That Jazz” Fund.  This will be an exceptional musical showcase and a wonderful gathering of Tony’s tribe of fans, not be missed.

Tony was fond of saying “I am sure glad my mother made me take piano lessons”, and are we all glad too.  Tony has been playing for so many of us, the dance classes at Sonoma State University, shows at Cinnabar Theater and Santa Rosa…. Junior College, gigs all over the place with his trio, services for the synagogue in Cotati, occasional services at Metropolitan Community Church and accompanist to many, many singers and players, including many who have performed with him at Main Street Station. Tony was loved by his family, many friends, fans, the music and theater community. He is already dearly missed.

M. Suzi Feehery – Owner

Main Street Station

Click on the picture below for larger jpg or here for pdf

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Tony D’Anna Trio – The Floater

Contact Tony at to order his new album:

The Floater  $10 plus shipping

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Tony D’anna Reviews

Tony D’anna:


Tony D’anna is cutting loose. After fifty years of playing backup, classical, dance rehearsals, and the occasional concert, he has teamed up with some old friends to make music, his way, on a regular basis.

Tony D'anna playing

Tony D'anna playing

Tony tackles standards and original material with fine hands and a musical mind that has been holding back since his trio disbanded in the early eighties. His regular performances  are so entrancing that many vocalists would rather sit back and listen than get up and sing. For anyone who knows singers, that’s rare…

“Tony takes us places we’ve visited before, but have forgotten.”

“…the alpha waves permeate the building.”

“Sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibes.”

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Tony D’anna Brief Bio

Tony D’anna was born in Chicago 1940.  In 1948 he moved to LA with his parents and brother.  His older brother played piano and the accordian.

Tony began piano lessons at age seven.  It was free as long as he practiced at least one hour per day. His mother made him practice one hour per day.  She didn’t approve of jazz so he was trained classically.  He learned the formal structure of harmony and chords and that made it easy for him to leap into jazz.

He was invited into a group at the age of fourteen to make $10 or $15 per gig.  This was on the job training for the young teenager.

Tony got free violin lessons from his piano teacher as well.  He played violin – first chair in junior high and high school.
“I got razzed  by the guys in the rough neighborhood in East LA, carrying my little violin case to school, so I dropped the violin, but I wish I would have never stopped.”

He joined Columbia Record Club at 15 and began collecting the records of artists that would influence him.  He has been influenced by drummers, horn players, and singers – not just piano players.

He played the accordian doing “Stump the Band”  schtick table side at a cheesy restaurant in his early adult years to make a living.  He became a piano tuner to earn extra money.  He played commercial music dressed in a funny little suit with a bow tie.  He actually quit music for awhile because he just couldn’t stand being so commercial, but Fusion brought him back into the fray.


George Sherring
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – The ignition, the impetus that got Tony going.

Bud Powell blew his mind the first time he heard him.  “He was a ferocious piano player,” Tony says

The Be-Bop movement was actually a rebellion of the big band era.  It is very restrictive to play in a big band.  People wanted more freedom to explore all the music going on in their heads.

The Cool Phase:  Cannonball Adderly, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker… “Bill Evans influenced every piano player who came after in voicings and style.”  Tony met Nancy Wilson while playing at a funky club in LA at the age of 17.  She walked in and wanted to sing. She was driven, sang in odd keys, sounded great and looked hot!

Jazz is different because every member of the band is a star.  The players come together to create something fabulous.

When listening to music everything else must stop.  “I am a strong devotee of silence,” Tony says.

Fusion!  Mahavishu Orchestra, Weather Report
Tony left LA when they began using helicopters to patrol LA neighborhoods.  He headed north and got as far as Santa Rosa where he’s been ever since.

He accompanies modern dance and ballet classes which means that he composes every day on the spot.  It isn’t really jazz. but a combination of New Age/ World Music.  He plays percussion, piano, and drums.  The students love it.  The teachers love it.
Tony worked with Ann Woodhead, well respected dance teacher at Sonoma State University for many years collaborating on dance concerts. Original scores were composed for these shows.

Currently Tony D’anna works as an accompanist at Sonoma State University for the Modern Dance Department.  He also works with the Ballet School, and at Santa Rosa Junior College Theater Arts Department  as a pianist for their musical productions.  He serves the same function at Cinnebar Theater.  He is one of the most popular accompanists for musicians and singers throughout the North Bay.  Whatever the genre:  Broadway, New Age, Classical, Jazz –  Tony answers all calls!

Tony D’anna equals Perfection!  That’s how to  describe him.  So tasty and responsive.  He and that piano have been lovers for a long time.  Pananica,  Thelonius Monk (Tony D’anna playing)

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