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Piano for dummies - Blake N.

Blake N. Piano for dummies - IDG, 1996. - 353 p.
Download (direct link): pianofordummies1991.pdf
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Bill Evans
Born in New York, Evans (1929-1980) played piano through college and the army. Undeterred by Uncle Sam, he recorded his first album in 1956, joined the legendary trumpet player Miles Davis in 1958, and formed a trio in 1960. Evans’s most controversial recording was the album Conversations with Myself, in which he mixed two or three recordings of his own piano playing together for one combined sound. Jazz purists were horrified! But time quickly proved that Evans’s unconventional mind would soon pave a whole new way for jazz composition and recording.
Herbie Hancock
Hancock (born in Illinois in 1940) studied piano from the age of 7. Four years later he played the first movement of a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony. After recording for Blue Note Records and playing with Miles Davis, he formed a new kind of jazz quartet that used several keyboards and synthesizers. Hancock was more commercially-minded than some of his contemporaries, producing the song “Rockit” that rocketed up the pop charts and winning an Oscar for his score to the motion picture ‘Round Midnight. He has recently returned to less-commercial, more jazz-oriented projects.
Chapter 18: Ten Types of Performers and Their Recordinqs 277
Thelonious Monk
He may not have chanted in a Gregorian monastery, but this Monk from North Carolina left an indelible mark on the history of American music.
Monk (1917-1982) worked as a house pianist at a popular club, Minton’s Playhouse, and introduced a new form of jazz called bop, which was more complex, less traditional-sounding, but oh so cool to hear. His first recording came in 1944 and was followed by a series of his own compositions for Blue Note Records. Initially his records were not big sellers, but his controversial and unorthodox style of playing and composing was finally accepted as genius. Hey, hindsight is always 20/20, right? The film Straight, No Chaser chronicles Monk’s life.
Art Tatum
Mostly self-taught, Ohio-born Tatum (1909-1956) was a first-class musician. He began losing his sight at an early age, becoming completely blind in one eye and partly blind in the other. Vision impairment didn’t inhibit his career; he recorded, toured, and frequently broadcast on the radio. Bringing new meaning to the words two-hand piano, his unique and amazing style caused listeners to think they were hearing two pianists, when in fact it was Art alone. He formed a trio in 1943 but returned to recording as a soloist a few years later. His style is noted for its stride and swing rhythms combined with sophisticated harmonies. Among his many fans was Russian classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz.
Jazz up your collection
Whether in a smoke-filled bar or smoke-filled recording studio, these giants loved to play. Hear them strut their stuff in these landmark recordings:
Dave Brubeck: Time Out (CBS); Time Further Out (CBS).
V Bill Evans: Conversations with Myself (Verve); Re: Person I Knew (OJC).
J’ Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (CBS); Best of Herbie Hancock (Blue Note Records); 'Round Midnight Soundtrack (CBS).
J' Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk Trio (OJC); Big Band and Quartet in Concert (Columbia); Straight, No Chaser (Columbia).
J’ Art Tatum: 20th Century Piano Genius (Verve).
278 Part VII: The Part of Tens
Mgsteriosos
“Fame made me do it!” Perhaps this phrase explains why three of the world’s greatest pianists so mysteriously went from having their names up in lights to having “Do Not Disturb” signs affixed to their doors.
Van Cliburn
Van Cliburn (born in Texas in 1934) was fortunate to find a first piano teacher in his own mother. After attending the Juilliard School of Music and winning competitions, his career highlight came at the age of 24 when he won the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia. The competition, meant to prove the superiority of Russian pianists to the rest of the world, was turned upside down when this long, tall Texan suddenly won!
After his recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 became an all-time best seller, Cliburn became an international hit with frequent sold-out concerts. But in 1979, he suddenly retired from public performance for ten years. Upon his return, his playing was consistent with his old style, but his concert appearances are sporadic. It’s still questionable whether or not he will resurrect his once-considerable career.
Glenn Gould
Canadian-born Glenn Gould (1932-1982) began studying piano at the age of 3. Seven years later, he was accepted to the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. At the age of 14, he was the youngest graduate ever from the Conservatory. He signed a recording contract with Columbia Records shortly after his U.S. debut, and his first recording, The Goldberg Variations, became a landmark. In 1964, feeling like “a vaudeville performer,” he abandoned all live performances and limited his career to recordings, radio, and television. A reputation is hard to hide; although his recordings and radio programs were sensational in both content and number, he is perhaps best remembered today for being eccentric and reclusive.
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