Posts Tagged ‘Piano’

JACQUES LOUSSIER

15 March 2011

I have always loved Jacques Loussier’s piano playing, his interpretation, his sheer talent and inquisitiveness. Now my wife has found him, he’s back in my life in a bigger way.

I guess it started for me when I was listening to “Weather Report” back in the day, and the rival fusion super group was “Return To Forever”.  This led me to Chic Corea, and through a few superb players, like Joe Sample or Oscar Petersen, to the great Keith Jarrett at Kóln 1975. My wife got turned on to Jarrett through this work, and it became a real staple in our musical diets.

It wasn’t much of a leap from Jarrett to the great Jacques Loussier.

I used to have his famous Bach stuff, but now I only have his Beethoven variations, the Allegretto From Symphony 7, and now that she loves it, we share the appreciation.  He is all over YouTube and Wikipedia. He was born in 1934, so he’s nearly 80 at the time of writing this, but he’s still cool. Very Cool.

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HIROMI UEHARA

4 May 2010

[Picture of Hiromi Uehara]I have been listening to a lot of Hiromi Uehara at work courtesy of YouTube.

In fact a client has noticed that I have been listening to a lot of Japanese stuff, which surprised me, but when I thought about it, I can see why he’d think that as he’s seen me check out Cornelius and Miyavi. I must seem like that to him, so I suggested that Hiromi has an Irish surname (O’Hara), but he wasn’t having any of it! LOL!

[Embedded videoclip from youTube: Deep Into The Night]

The guitarist is  “Fuze” (Dave Fiuczynski) a full-time teacher at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and as a session man has played on nearly 100 albums! I am flattered that my wife thought it was me playing! he is clearly influenced by Allan Holdsworth.

[Embedded videoclip from youTube: Deep Into The Night solo piano]

Hiromi was born in 1979 and went to Berklee.  Her band is made up of Berklee folk. She’s playing with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, and has done piano duets with Chic Corea. Check out her website: www.hiromimusic.com.

[Embedded videoclip from YoutUbe: The Tom and Jerry Show]
[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HcKrd3K8_A&]

I’m sure you’ll agree that she can certainly play fast piano! She sings along and makes weird noises like Keith Jarrett — and I think she plays a bit like Jarrett and a wee bit like Oscar Peterson at times too.

[Embedded video clip from YouTube – Brain Training]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB5LEzcGgNo&]

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OSCAR LEVANT

15 December 2009

[Picture of Oscar Levant at Piano - An American in Paris]I have been a fan of Oscar since the late 1960s, and I find it sad and strange that he’s not better remembered.

He did the music for zillions of films, wrote tonnes of hit records, was a pal of Jolson and Gershwin and a star pupil of Shoenberg.

So many of my favourite “celebrities” (for want of a better term), are famed for quick wittedness on radio and TV — especially game shows and talk shows.

That is probably what made Levant so famous in his day.

Recent events with Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross made me recall Levant’s remarks about Marilyn Monroe that got his show taken off air — it was about her famous conversion to Judaism.  Levant wise-cracked, ‘Now that Marilyn Monroe is kosher, Arthur Miller can eat her!’.

He later said that he ‘hadn’t meant it “that way”‘! Sublime. His show eventually got axed for being too controversial.  This guy was cutting edge… back in the 50s and 60s.

[Picture of Groucho Marx Al Jolson and Oscar Levant 1948]

He is incredibly well-quoted in tear-off calendars, here’s a wee selection of ones you might have heard and admired:

  • I have one thing to say about psychoanalysis: fuck Dr Freud.
  • Everyone in Hollywood is gay, except Gabby Hayes — and that’s because he is a transvestite.
  • Strip away the false tinsel from Hollywood, and you find the real tinsel inside.
  • So little time and so little to do…
  • What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left.
  • I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.
  • I used to call Audrey Hepburn a walking X-ray.
  • Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.
  • I’m going to memorize your name and throw my head away.
  • I envy people who drink — at least they know what to blame everything on.
  • A pun is the lowest form of humour — when you don’t think of it first.
  • Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.
  • I have given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.
  • Schizophrenia beats dining alone.
  • There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.
  • Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
    and my favourite:
  • A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.

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KEITH JARRETT

6 January 2009

Keith Jarrett played a concert in Koln on 24 January 1975.  It was just him and a piano, and he just made it all up on the spot.

Fortunately, this concert was recorded and released.

I have always adored this album.  It’s just a piano, but it’s far more, man.

For a start, he makes mistakes.  Then he makes all sorts of bizarre noises as he plays.  I guess that is why some people don’t like it.  But to anyone who play music — especially to people who improvise live — this is a landmark work of art!

It is astounding, then beautiful, then addictive — the soundtrack to autumn, or winter, or summer picnics, or study or commuting to work, or backpacking, or…

I was reminded of this album, long after I stopped playing LPs on turntables, by my pal, Big Mike.  Big Mike copied his CD for me twice.  I think he wanted to make sure I got it!

I turned it into an MP3, and it has been copied to my phone and MP3 player etc.

My wife got into it too.

One evening last year, we thought we’d look Keith up on youtube — and it seems that the man is also weird physically — that it’s not just noises he makes, but he strikes serious poses and attitudes while playing!  This is superb!  What expression — here is Keith Jarrett playing Londonderry Air (the tune behind the most popular version of Danny Boy):

embedded video:

Isn’t that just superb?

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