In loving memory of

Michael Ernest Renzi
September 28, 2021

Mike Renzi, of Middletown, RI and Boca Raton, Florida died on September 29 at Newport Hospital following a brief illness. Mike, born in Providence, the son of Ernest and Elvia Renzi was a Composer, Musical Director, Arranger, Pianist and Jazz Musician. He graduated from The Boston Conservatory of Music in 1973 and from Berklee College College of Music the following year. After graduation, he worked with local bands as accompanist to visiting artists. Many of his nights were spent at The Kings and Queens and at Allary's, a local jazz club in downtown Providence. Years later he received a special key to the City of Providence by Mayor Buddy Cianci, and was inducted into both the RI Music Hall of Fame and RI Heritage Hall of Fame.

In 1976, Mike moved to New York City to expand his reach into his music career and from the 70s to the early 2000s, he appeared on scores of albums, both as a pianist and arranger. It was there that he began as Musical Director of "Sesame Street", a position he held for many seasons until retirement. Mike received 16 Emmy Nominations for his work on "Sesame Street" and the soap opera, "All my Children". He was honored with seven Emmys, one of which stood on his beloved Steinway.

After his retirement, Mike moved to Middletown where he continued to share his
priceless gift of music. He could be found every Wednesday night as the entertainment at Sardella's Restaurant in Newport surrounded by his adoring fans. He also played many gigs around the state accompanying his old friend, Dick Lupino and the Dick Lupino Trio. More recently, he could be found playing to an appreciative audience at Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth with Paul Del Nero on Bass and Rick Wells on Drums.

"He was one of the most respected and gifted musicians of this generation", said Dick Robinson, founder of The Society for the Preservation of The Great American
Songbook, as he presented Mike with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for his passion and commitment to the American Songbook. Mike was the arranger and composer to many vocalists during his distinguished career such as Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, and Lena Horne, Jack Jones, Liza Minelli, Maureen McGovern and many other well known vocalists.

Mike also accompanied Tony Bennett as both arranger and pianist on Mr. Bennett's last world tour. He drew special acclaim for his accompaniment with Lady GaGa on the CD "Cheek to Cheek".

He leaves an extended family in both Rhode Island and Florida. He also leaves his many loyal jazz loving friends from both far and near who were privileged to be the recipients of his unforgettable talent.

There will be a private celebration of Mike's life.


Charles (Trebla) Iannuccilli wrote on Feb 13, 2022:

"Miss the wonder I felt as you sat at the keys doing what you did. Miss Liberty Hardware and Buddy with the rest of the gang hanging out. Miss the days of my life that that had those things in them. See you and everyone else at the "bridge"."

Tony Marino wrote on Oct 26, 2021:

"We are so sorry to hear of Mike's passing. Mike was an incredible musician and one of the nicest guys that anyone could meet. We are praying for Mike and his family. RIP"

Nancy Leonard wrote on Oct 9, 2021:

"Sincere Condolences to Michael Renzi?s Family and Friends, I did not know Mikel Renzi personally but heard a tribute to him on NPR?s WGBH this morning and realized that I did know his work through my mother?s love of jazz, particularly jazz vocalists such as Peggy Lee, Mel Torme as accompanied by the gifted Mike Renzi. My mother passed in 2019 at 82 and her birthday is next week. We always went to hear a jazz vocalist and pianist to celebrate as she loved that pairing of talents. I felt very close to her today listening to this tribute to Mike and his work. Please know that Mike Renzi has touched and given great joy to many lives and generations. Nancy Leonard "

Mary-Janet Harris wrote on Oct 6, 2021:

"We are so sorry to hear of Mike's passing and we will miss his talent and his humor. Mary-Janet Harris & Horton Edward"

Steve Ahern wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"My father, Don Ahern, use to pick up 14 yr old Mike to play gigs for Ralph Stuart......I had the honor of playing with Mike over several years starting in the 80's with The Boca Pops....and right up to his second to last gig he ever played on Aug 21st at Greenvale Vineyards.... we were planning on doing a regular trio gig this winter in Florida. My wife and I are just so extremely sorry for the loss of Mike .... he was extremely talented and humble at the same time. A wonderful friend that we will miss so much. May he RIP...and continue to play wonderful music in heaven. Love, Steve and Donna Ahern "

Donna Centracchio wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"Mike Renzi's talent at the piano could not be matched. "

Mark and Michelle Taylor wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"We enjoyed being Mike's neighbor in Florida for 20 years. When he would come to visit it was a treat to hear who he was working with at the time. If we got really lucky we would hear him practice his piano if we stepped outside our house. He was cool. Lorraine and Kevin, I'm so sorry to hear this news. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hear him play with Tony Bennett. We miss you."

joan lepore wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"For the many years of friendship and music that he gave us at Greenvale and the Pasta Fagiole luncheons at his home. Our condolences to the family. JOE ROMANO AND JOAN LEPORE"

Arlene Rae Spillberg wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"I am so sad about Mike's passing. I met Mike when he was playing at Alarys, when I asked if I could sit in. After I sang, Mike asked me if I wanted to work there, and I did, for quite a long time. Working with, and knowing Mike, is a highlight in my life, that will live forever. He was the kindest, most talented musician that has blessed all of us. May he rest in peace. Arlene Rae (Spillberg)"

Tony Cipolla wrote on Oct 5, 2021:

"We are so saddened to hear this news. Mike was a life long friend to us and we will miss him dearly. Mike played with me when he was 17! He was already known as a jazz prodigy and I got the privilege to play many gigs throughout the years with him. He was funny, personable and an all around good guy. He is the best jazz pianist and vocal accompanist I have ever heard. Rest in Peace will be sorely missed. Tony and Dolores Cipolla"

Elaine Stabile Fantozzi wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"I knew Michael Renzi many years ago. Michael was a handsome young man who gave me piano lessons every Saturday morning at his home on Federal Hill. A young teenager, I sat at that gorgeous grand piano ,Michael sat next to me making sure I followed each note on the sheet music. A dedicated, talented musician . Michael was admired by many and will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest sympathy to Michael?s family"

Donald and Marie Pastine wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"To the Renzi family, Everyone who crossed paths with Michael all came away with the feeling that Mike was truly a special person. Not just for his musical talents, which were truly abundant,; but, for Michael Renzi the man. Caring, loving, and a loyal and true friend to all. His love knew no bounds. That kind of person will always remain in our hearts.. Marie and I will miss the enjoyable dinner evenings we shared together in Florida. with Mike, Lorraine and Kevin.."

Dolly Amato wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Our deepest condolences for Lorraine & family. Mike was one of a kind. May he rest in peace. "

Alan Ceprano wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Mike playing at Alary?s "

Cathy Pratte wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Mike was not only an extraordinary musician, but he was also a wonderful person. He demonstrated both a humble spirit and a zest for life. He is irreplaceable. May you rest in peace, dear friend."

Jean McKenna O’Donnell wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"O, how Mike will be missed! He was truly one of a kind. Though he accompanied some of the world?s best singers, he gave the same attention, talent, and creativity to those of us not cut from that mold. I will treasure the memories of performing with him, especially at Chan?s and at Greenvale. And I thank God for recordings! RIP, Mike. We will never forget you. "

James Vierra wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Mike will be missed by his family and by every musician and audience he graced with his presence. I thank him for the memories. May he Rest In Peace."

Richard Renzi wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Oh brother. Where do I begin...... I can never put into words what you meant to me and the "I love you's" just seem to fade way as they were said for i looked forward to seeing you soon afterwards. I really wish you knew the importance of the relationship I was trying to build with you for I looked upto you in so many ways.. just know I will always remember the times we spent, our conversations and our laughs... I love you. Your brother Ricky..."

Arthur Plitt wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Sadly your music and energies are not to be shared but even with my reiki shared, your energies come thru even now. You?ll be missed? Namaste? Arthur Plitt "

Mary Flair Bogan wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"I went to see Mike when he was playing at the Stone Balloon in Warren I?m 1970 and asked if he would record ?What do you get when you Fall in Love? for a pageant I was in to accompany my singing. He said. ?It?ll cost you -I?m Union- $15!? I still have that precious tape! A lovely and mega talented man! No one like him! Mary Flair Bogan"

Donna Centracchio wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"Mike Renzi's piano playing seemed effortless. Watching and listening to his artistry was a feeling of joy and contentment. Pure genius. He will be missed."

Juanita Clark wrote on Oct 4, 2021:

"My deepest sympathy to Mike's family. You will be missed."

Christopher Brooke wrote on Oct 3, 2021:

"I first met Mike last year at cabaret fest back in 2020! We hit it off right when we first met! He was an amazing guy! He was the musical director for my show for cabaretfest back in June and I was very honored to have him be apart of my show! Mike was not only my friend but a mentor and father figure to me! I?ll miss you Mike and I?ll never forget you!"

Howard LaRose wrote on Oct 3, 2021:

"I knew Mike at Bridgham junior high school, he could play that old piano, like you could not believe, he was only 8 years old would go to south main st in providence see him play and he always would stop and say hello. RSP. Howard laRose"

Lucille M. Beland wrote on Oct 3, 2021:

"To Mike's family, my Deepest Sympathy. His talents were enjoyed and will be missed."