Music: Cooking At The Keys

Marcus Roberts takes his jazz piano up the charts

They were not really epiphanies. The way he tells it, Marcus Roberts' decisive moments of musical inspiration -- those times when you hear a tune and your whole life changes -- were more like . . . bumps. No epic moments. Just a few small occasions of collision.

The first one -- the seminal one -- happened when Roberts was eight, and he collided with a new piano in his home in Jacksonville. He had been blind for four years, and was not so much startled as seduced. "I sat right down," Marcus says, in his soft but insistent voice. "I...

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