[JPL] good career move
jaejazz at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 12 00:57:59 EDT 2006
Something that Ellis Marsalis said to me a while ago made me think about pianos in venues......he said one of the main things that killed the jam sessions years ago was disappearance of the pianos from the clubs. I thought about that and would have to say he's right. Few venues left with pianos and if you do find one with a piano the quality of the instrument is suspect usually.
Jim mentioned Bill Evans......probably the most astonishing performance I've heard from Evans were his final recordings from Ronnie Scotts in London. The sessions were released on Dreyfus Records I believe. The piano was horribly out of tune and in the mix it sounded like a 2' Yung Chang with bad strings and wet dampers. It was terrible but I've never heard Bill Evans on recording play with as much fire, energy and passion on any other of his recordings. Not to mention the fact that he was sick at the time. Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea wouldn't have touched a piano like that.
I think about Oscar....particularly in those small house party recordings he did solo and with his trio. Many times the piano was just amazingly bad. I have so much love for so many pianists but Oscar is the only one that has left me speechless - when he was in his prime. The medley on "Nigerian Marketplace" with "Waltz For Debbie and "Misty" or the medley of "Moon River" and "I Concentrate On You" or "Love You Madly" with Herb and Ray. Simply incredible. I've played with Herb a few times and he always talked about Oscar's power and how the piano would shake like crazy and his soul. Tatum was way ahead of his time - harmonically speaking and obviously had the technique but Oscar's soul......and power. I've never heard anything like it when he was on.
The bottom line is these guys played and didn't worry about the inadequacy of the instrument and strangely enough produced some of their best work. I don't think I've ever heard Monk record on an in tune piano. I really think somehow that added to his mystic and quirky-ness. I hate to say this about Gonzalo but I've never really heard him play much of anything that I can remember outside of his first live Blue Note release. He has amazing technique which has carried him to this point but his recordings lack direction and focus to me. From my perspective he needs to establish a concept that has continuity and clairity. Anyone remember anything from that last recording he did?
Jim Wilke <jwilke123 at comcast.net> wrote:
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Well, it's not exactly a first. I was at a performance a few years ago
when a well-known pianist was playing a lesser-known venue (both shall
remain nameless to protect the hardly innocent!). About midway
through a tune, the pianist abruptly stood up from the 5' baby grand
and announced, "I'm sorry, I'm a pianist and this is not a piano. See
(the owner) and he'll give you your money back." and left the stage.
- Man, talk about a real show-stopper!
More surprisingly, the pianist has since played for the same management
again, but now on a decent piano. (Probably would have settled for
6'10" Steinway B)
One has to have a certain amount of sympathy/empathy for touring
pianists who with rare exception play a different instrument nearly
every night and never know what they'll be dealing with until they get
to the gig. There are a few in the very top echelon who have been able
to tour with their own piano, or in the case of Steinway artists, have
specially prepared artists' pianos provided in major cities.
It's not always just the piano, though. During a long series of live
radio shows from a local club we had Ahmad Jamal, Gene Harris, Kenny
Barron, Hamp Hawes, Horace Silver, Wynton Kelly, Oscar Peterson and a
dozen other pianists play the same piano with good results. But when
Bill Evans sat down and played the first couple of chords and a run, my
head snapped around so fast I nearly knocked my headphones off. It
sounded so rich I thought they'd put in a new piano since last week.
Nope.... just a new piano player.
Jazz After Hours, PRI
On Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at 08:14 PM, Tom Reney wrote:
> Pianist cancels Regattabar gigs
> July 8, 2006
> Grammy-winning pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba canceled his two-night stint
> at the Regattabar only hours before the first of two sets last night
> because he objected to the room's piano, a 6-foot, 10-inch Steinway
> Model B.
> ``He's just not happy with this piano," said Greg Herbst, the
> Regattabar general manager, who found out Rubalcaba's four gigs
> weren't happening just 25 minutes before show time.
> Herbst said there had been a request to bring in another piano, but
> ``[Rubalcaba's] management was supposed to handle that."
> Last night, 130 ticket holders for the 7:30 p.m. show were turned
> away, their money refunded. Herbst said ticket holders for tonight's
> two shows will have their money refunded . For more information, call
This week's sponsor: Lisa Hilton's MIDNIGHT IN MANHATTAN
A sinfully sultry mix of originals and standards'' is what JazzTrenzz reviewer Karl Stober had to say about composer/pianist Lisa Hilton's latest release, 'MIDNIGHT IN MANHATTAN', (Ruby Slippers Productions). Inspired by a late New York night, she has once again created a recording full of evocative moods, strong melodies and expressive arrangements. Creating a new band for these sessions, 'Midnight In Manhattan' also features famed Brubeck saxman Bobby Militello, John Friday on drums and long time bassist Reggie McBride. Eighteen-time Grammy winning engineer/producer Al Schmitt recorded and mixed with Hilton in Studio A/Capitol Studios keeping a natural sound that compliments the straight ahead tracks.
Trained in contemporary and classical piano, Hilton contemplated jazz greats for inspiration. ''I've always been inspired by the melodies of our great American songwriters of the 30's, the rhythmic hooks of classic jazz of the 50's and a bit of our blues from the South'' comments Hilton, ''but I do think that jazz can be inspired by this musical heritage and still sound cool today.''
Hilton's music continues to earn numerous awards and honors. Her music is distributed by Navarre and is available at most retail and online stores. Her website is: www.lisahiltonmusic.com.
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