Download (direct link):
T Floyd Cramer: Best (BMG).
J' Dr. John: Anthology (Rhino).
Scott Joplin: Complete Rags, William Albright (Music Masters).
New Age musicâ€™s audience can be divided into two camps: those who love it and those who loathe it. A relatively new genre, this relaxing mood music generates sell-out records and sell-out concerts all around the world. And what instrument is better suited for relaxation than the piano or electric keyboard? Well, certainly not the drums.
Part VII: The Part of Tens
Not until after high school did George Winston (born in Montana in 1949) start playing keyboards. Influenced by blues, rock, and R&B, he became interested in the organ and electric piano. But after hearing Fats Waller play, he switched to the acoustic piano, where he has cultivated his own rural, folk piano style. His first solo album, Ballads and Blues, came out in 1972. Then, after many years of silence, he emerged with a Windham Hill recording contract and produced many highly successful albums. His major influences include Floyd Cramer, Ray Charles, and Vince Guaraldi (the man who gave us the Peanuts theme). In fact, Winston devotes part of every live show to the music of Guaraldi.
Yanni Chryssomallis (born in Greece in 1954) was a member of the Greek National Swimming Team with little time for music or the piano. At the age of 14, he came to the U.S. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in psychology, he found work as a session player and even composed some commercial jingles. His first solo album, Optimystique, was released in 1980. Today, his albums and concert appearances are huge sellers worldwide. He is the first artist to ever perform a live concert at Indiaâ€™s Taj Mahal palace. His compositions have been heard on ABCâ€™s Wide World of Sports and the Olympic Games. The degree in psychology? Thatâ€™s how he knows what the public wants to hear.
Enhancing gour mood
Put one of these recordings in the CD player, sit back, relax, maybe even take a nice long nap:
I. George Winston: Winter Into Spring (Windham Hill); Linus and Lucy The Music of Vince Guaraldi (Windham Hill).
V Yanni: Live at the Acropolis (Private Music); Tribute (Virgin).
Sure, playing the piano is fun, but how can sitting around the house, banging away on the keys be considered a job? Perhaps it can when you produce the classic songs and classic shows that these three musicians did. With their piano as a desk, they went to work and have kept America singing ever since.
Chapter 18: Ten Types of Performers and Their Recordings 285
Some consider Edward Kennedy Ellingtonâ€™s arrival in New York from his birthplace in Washington D.C. to be the most important event in the jazz scene of the late 1920s. Initially aligning himself with the styles of James P. Johnson and Jelly Roll Morton, Ellington (1899-1974) could adapt to virtually any style, accompanying such distinct players as Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane.
A true musical pioneer, he developed his own trademark style of jazz orchestration and led one of the most important bands of the swing era. Ellington wrote volumes of classic songs, including â€śDonâ€™t Get Around Much Anymore,â€ť â€śSophisticated Lady,â€ť and â€śIn a Sentimental Mood.â€ť Throughout a career spanning nearly five decades, Duke remained contemporary and surprisingly modern in his style and techniques.
George Gershwin (1898-1937) got a late start, playing piano beginning at the age of 12. So consumed by music was young Gershwin, of New York, that he quit school to be a song-plugger (a person who sells songs) for the Remick Music Publishers. Tiring of this job, he sought work as a rehearsal pianist on Broadway. With his brother Ira as lyricist, he penned such classics as â€śI Got Rhythmâ€ť and â€śLetâ€™s Call the Whole Thing Off.â€ť He is the respected composer of successful Broadway shows, symphonic music, and the American opera, Porgy and Bess. More than any other composer before him, Gershwin pushed the boundaries of bringing commercial-sounding music into the snobbish concert hall. And, by the way, he was a darn good pianist, too!
Thomas Wright Waller (1904-1943) played organ for his fatherâ€™s Baptist church services in New York. Mastering the organâ€™s keys, he quickly took up piano, too. He was hired by the Lincoln Theatre in Harlem to accompany silent movies with his playing. At the age of 17, he began making piano rolls (see the sidebar â€śRoll me another pianoâ€ť). A few years later, he began recording and broadcasting his own compositions. He teamed with lyricist Andy Razaf and the pair produced such hits as â€śAinâ€™t Misbehavinâ€™,â€ť â€śBlack and Blue,â€ť and â€śHoneysuckle Rose.â€ť After successful records and tours around the world, he settled down and wrote a Broadway show, Early to Bed. I guess â€śsettling downâ€ť is now defined as writing a Broadway show, not lying on the couch with a big glass of iced tea.