For over four decades, Jim Hession has been one of the leading American pianists to feature the solo styles of early jazz: ragtime, stride, Harlem shout, boogie woogie, and swing. His early classical training was with concert pianist/composer Oscar Rasbach, himself a student of Theodor Lestichitsky and a touring second pianist to Sergei Rachmaninoff. As a teenager, Hession moved from studying classical music to exploring jazz styles (ragtime and New Orleans jazz) on his own. He was a founding member of Los Angeles’ Maple Leaf Ragtime Club in 1967 and, while working as a full-time musician, attended UCLA’s School of Music, where he received a degree in composition. Hession began a long association with The Walt Disney Company after college, beginning as a soloist and a duo with his wife, Martha. The Hessions were the first musicians hired
to perform at Walt Disney World.