Sunday, December 25, 2011

Striding into 49 West on January 14, 2012

With a new stride concert concept: "Happiness ... A Thing Called Stride", and a successful Mainstay engagement under my belt, it's time to cross the bay, and begin to push out in reach (to an unsuspecting jazz audience). When I finally embraced the concept of offering and promoting a show grounded in (the self accompanying world of) stride piano, I was, honestly, surprised to find just how much serious enthusiasm there is for this. Truth in advertising: I'm not presenting myself as an historical authority, or as one who has memorized dozens of transcriptions of obscure pieces from the first 2 or 3 decades of the 20th century. For me, the pinnacle of stride piano - Fats Waller, and the sophisticated and elegant solo approach of Teddy Wilson, were my first influences, and represent where I came into jazz, as a teenager in the 1970's. This, along with my first musical group being an instrumental representation of the Benny Goodman Trio (no bass, so the piano fills all the space), solidified my own self-accompanying approach. Instead of concentrating on working backwards (historically), though, I pushed ahead through the decades of evolution of styles, adapting the approach. Though, in this concert, you will hear ragtime selections, and stride classics by James P. Johnson and Fats, we'll also go the other direction, suggesting (among others) the 2 pianists that are most often noted as (obvious) influences on me: Erroll Garner and Dave McKenna. I'm excited to be performing at 49 West, in Annapolis MD for the first time, for their "intimate jazz series". For more information, and to make reservations, please call Elana Byrd at 410-269-0777 or email Hope to see you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Video Playlist - "Happiness ... A Thing Called Stride".

The video collection (7 posts) represents the range and spirit of my concert concept of stride piano across the generations. It is curious, I suppose, that I have been reluctant, until recently, to put myself out there as a "stride guy" (of sorts), when this is how I came in, and clearly what continues to drive my approach to performance. I finally get it, though: "stride" piano remains respected and vital, both as an historical view, and as a performance approach that can retain contemporary relevance in the jazz world. So here I am, and here it is - coming soon (hopefully) to a jazz venue near you.