Categories
Monday Notes

James P. Johnson, The Carolina Shout. From ragtime to stride piano

[Monday Notes no. 119] James P. Johnson was one of the greatest pianists of the 1920s, also famous for his composition The Charleston, which contributed to the spread of the dance of the same name. James P. Johnson’s music marks the transition between ragtime and stride piano, the earliest form of jazz piano. Let us…

Categories
Monday Notes

Oscar Peterson, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

[Monday’s Notes No. 108] Oscar Peterson was one of the greatest jazz piano virtuosos. His long solos are legendary, as are his fast and perfect lines. Under his skilled hands, the piano keyboard often becomes hot, but not in the interpretation of this splendid ballad, In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.

Categories
Monday Notes

In A Silent Way, a Joe Zawinul piece that Miles Davis made his own

[Monday Notes no. 107] Great musicians have the ability to be inspired and stimulated by their peers. This is certainly the case with Miles Davis, who chose Joe Zawinul’s song In A Silent Way as the title for his eponymous album, a masterpiece recorded in 1969.

Categories
Monday Notes

Michel Petrucciani, Estate. A piece by Bruno Martino in the jazz repertoire

[Monday Notes no. 106] Estate is the only Italian piece to have permanently entered the repertoire of jazz standards, to the point of being included in one of the famous Real Books, the sheet music collections dedicated to jazz music. The piece was written by Bruno Martino, the most famous international performers were Joao Gilberto,…

Categories
Monday Notes

Jelly Roll Morton, Hyena Stomp. Laughter is contagious

[Monday’s Note No. 3] Jelly Roll Morton boasted that he had invented jazz, he had a diamond in his tooth, and he often used to exhibit his gun to persuade his musicians to play his way. Eccentric and over-the-top, the character long overshadowed the musician. Let’s listen to his curious composition Hyena Stomp.

Categories
Monday Notes

Solace Mexican Serenade, Scott Joplin recommends: don’t play too fast

[Monday Notes no. 82] Scott Joplin was the main inventor of ragtime. The composer wrote on his sheet music ‘Don’t play this piece too fast. It is never correct to play Ragtime too fast’, an instruction rarely respected by pianists. In fact, ragtime is often considered a virtuoso exercise and is played at excessive speed…

Categories
Monday Notes

Tea For Two, Art Tatum the unsurpassed virtuoso

[Monday Notes no. 7] There have been many virtuoso pianists in the history of jazz, Art Tatum, however, represents a unique and unparalleled case. Art Tatum mastered both the classical piano repertoire, from Chopin and Listz to Ravel, and the masters of the stride piano such as Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Jelly Roll…

Categories
Monday Notes

Roll ‘Em Pete, Pete Johnson & Joe Turner. Simply, the blues.

[Monday Notes no. 79] Pete Johnson was one of the greatest boogie-woogie pianists, Roll ‘Em Pete was one of his favourite pieces. On this recording he is accompanied by singer Joe Turner, another blues specialist. The two musicians provide an outstanding performance, a duet that sums up the most salient features of the blues.

Categories
Monday Notes

Bruno Martino, E la chiamano estate

[Monday No. 77] Bruno Martino was one of the greatest Italian songwriters. A musician by vocation from a very young age, he found a unique style that made him the greatest Italian nightclub musician. Let us listen to and analyse one of his great classics, E la chiamano estate.

Categories
Monday Notes

Fats Waller, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

[Monday Notes no. 72] Fats Waller was one of the greatest interpreters of the stride piano. A pupil of the great James P. Johnson and precocious in playing and composing music, as was often the case with black musicians he came to success more because of his skills as an entertainer than his value as…

>