Sept. 7, 1935 – Jan. 21, 2023

Peter Blue, 87, of Harpswell, died after a short illness on Jan. 21. He was a professional pianist, arranger, accompanist, conductor and music director in the various genres of jazz, pop, country and classical music.

Pete was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California, where he attended Beverly Hills High School, studying piano and other instruments. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University, where he was student conductor of the Concert Band and a member of the Triangle Club. He also studied law at Columbia University and at Stanford University.

Living in Seattle in the 1960s, he performed as a pianist, conductor and arranger. The Seattle Times music critic dubbed him “one of the best jazz pianists in the Pacific Northwest.” He then spent a year performing in Las Vegas and Reno-Tahoe before moving to Nashville in the early 1970s. In Nashville, Pete worked as a session musician, backing many country luminaries, and he served as musical conductor at Opryland USA.

Pete then moved to New York City in 1977, where he appeared on Broadway as pianist and conductor in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” for four years. He also worked as a pianist and musical conductor in live performances, television, recordings and theater, notably with the Princeton Jazz Quintet and as co-creator with Gerard Alessandrini of “Forbidden Broadway,” the long-running musical parody revue. He and Alessandrini worked as a writing team in Lehman Engel’s musical theater workshop and collaborated over the years in various productions and road shows of “Forbidden,” such as “Forbidden Las Vegas.” He was also co-writer with Alessandrini of “Masterpiece Tonight,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of Mobil Masterpiece Theatre, presented in Los Angeles, at the State Department in Washington, and as part of a PBS special.

Moving to Harpswell in 2010, Pete continued his musical pursuits, performing with various artists around the Midcoast area. He was half of the duo Sue and Blue, performing for 12 years with well-known jazz singer Sue Sheriff, of Portland. He also performed often with the Jazz Masters in Cape Elizabeth and around the Midcoast.

Pete is survived by Marcia Blue, his wife of 57 years, and by three nephews and other family members in the Western U.S.