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Moore studied piano from the age of 4, eventually attending the Cornish School and the University of Washington in Seattle. He played with Les Hite and other dance bands on the West Coast, but said that when he saw the legendary jazz pianist Art Tatum perform, "I started arranging instead." He went to work for MGM studios in the early 1940s, then moved to New York City to be the musical director for singer Mildred Bailey's radio show on CBS. He formed a small combo known as the Phil Moore Four and even appeared on a few B-movie musicals. He spent the late 1940s as an accompanist and musical director for singers such as Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, then returned to Hollywood, where he cranked out record after record backing countless singers, from Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Monroe. Moore even founded the Singers Workshop in Hollywood to help aspiring vocalists. He also released an occasional album under his own name, and these include some choice items: Symphony in Green, an original composition describing the color; Fantasy for Girl and Orchestra, which includes sound effects and narration with lines like, "It sure is lonely in a room designed for two when there's only one around"; Polynesian Paradise, Moore's contribution to the Les Baxter-Martin Denny jungle craze; and Leda Annest's Portrait of Leda.
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