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Those whom we Remember
Dan Wilson's passing at the end of 2005 was a salutary reminder to us all that Pianola history did not end in 1930. Just as we document musicians and inventors from one hundred years ago, we should also note the passing of those in our community who have made a significant contribution to the development of the player piano, and its acceptance into the musical world of today. It is sad but fitting that we start with Dan.

Dan Wilson - Pianolist and Dear Friend

Dan Wilson, one of the most musical pianolists in the world, died on Boxing Day 2005. We were all very sorry to learn of his passing, at the relatively young age of 71. He was a fine friend and a sensitive musician, with a mischievous sense of humour and an ability, equalled by none, to make jazz piano rolls sound improvised. He was one of life's mavericks: an individual who can never be replaced.

Dan at the Pianola in summer 2004.

The pianola was one of Dan's many and varied interests, which included water divining, healing by the laying on of hands, the Ffestiniog Railway, and vintage telephone equipment. His passion for pianolas and piano rolls lasted throughout his life, from childhood to maturity. A full appreciation of Dan's inimitable contribution to the pianola and its music appeared in Pianola Journal 17, and other typical photos of Dan can be found on these Friends' pages.

In due course we hope to publish a CD of Dan's playing, though there are many hurdles to be crossed in the way of mechanical copyright.

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