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Tampa jazz veteran being recognized in award-winning documentary at age 86

kitty daniels.jpg
Posted at 2:33 PM, Jun 22, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — Kitty Daniels has been playing the piano and singing in Tampa since the 1940s. A lot has changed since then, but what remains the same is her passion for entertaining audiences.

Now at 86-years-old, Daniels is still performing seven nights a week at some of Tampa Bay's most popular restaurants.

Daniels has been a fixture behind the piano at Donatello Restaurant for the past 22 years. When asked her favorite thing about playing the piano she said, “it responds to the way I feel, it’s my good friend."

The Tampa native has been performing in her hometown ever since she was a teenager, bartending at the old Cotton Club in Ybor City.

“My ears were so sensitive, if they played the wrong notes I’d find myself up there at the piano offering to play the song for the person singing,” said Daniels.

She went on to rub elbows with musical greats like Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles and Etta James.

Eventually, the piano had to take a back seat to more pressing matters like raising five children, but it was only a matter of time before Kitty returned to a whole new audience.

“To know Kitty is to love Kitty,” said Louise Krikorian.

The documentary filmmaker decided to make a movie, “Kitty Daniels and Majid Shabazz Jazz Legends.”

“You know I was kind of stunned, ‘why would anyone want to make a movie about my life at my age you know,'” said Daniels.

The documentary is currently making its round in the film festival circuit and has already won multiple awards including a 2021 Telly Award.

“She’s very humble so I really wanted to share her story not only for Kitty but also for Ybor City and for Tampa,” said Krikorian.

Daniels has no plans of walking away from the keys any time soon. If you see her don’t be afraid to make a request.

“Tell me what you want to hear and if I know it I’ll be glad to play it,” said Daniels.

For more information on the movie or Kitty go to www.kittydaniels.com