Became known as one of free jazz's pioneers who was admired for his energy, improvisation, and complexity at the keyboard.
He began studying piano at age six, eventually going to the New York College of Music and New England Conservatory.
His first album, Jazz Advance, was recognized for its freedom with the post-bop technique.
His mother, herself a dancer, pianist, and violinist, sparked his interest in ballet.
He was once compared to Art Tatum, only with contemporary-classical leanings.