Carol Whitney Britto, virtuoso jazz pianist, died March 16, 2012 in New York City. Born in Cleveland, OH in 1935, she is survived by her children Jeff Britto, Karen Carter, and Eric Britto, her sister Jeanne Casey (Larry), her brother Mike Whitney (Rosemary), grandchildren, and loving nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, well-known bass player Bill Britto, and by her sisters Marilyn Whitney and Ilene McCarthy (Larry).
Music was Carol's life. She couldn't remember ever not playing the piano. School concerts led to a scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Music. Clevelanders may remember her playing at the Purple Tree Lounge in the Manger Hotel. From there she began to make a name for herself in New York and in Toronto, where she studied with the incomparable Oscar Peterson. "Oscar taught me how to be a take-charge pianist," she said. Her forceful energetic technique was often compared to his. With her Trio she was the long-time favorite at the Lyte's jazz room in Toronto's Royal York Hotel. She was organist for the Toronto Blue Jays. She played at colleges and jazz festivals throughout North America. She was chosen to be an exclusive Baldwin Piano artist.
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Marvin Stamm says of Carol:
I first met and played with Carol Britto in the 1970's in Toronto. I believe the club was the Basin Street, and for sure, Michel Donato was the bassist and Jerry Fuller the drummer. This was my first time playing with this trio and also my first time playing this club. Everyone—but especially Carol—made me feel right at home. This was to be the first of a number of times playing and performing in Toronto with Carol. Carol was an exceptionally fine musician and a very sweet human being. For all the times we worked together and later kept up with each other, I felt a wonderful closeness, a friendship I treasured greatly. She never let her ego get in the way of the music and was always sensitive to the musicians she was working with. Her warmth and the deep beauty of her soul will be missed. Love and kisses to you, Carol.