January 21, 2016 |
The pianist arrives as the food court clock strikes noon. A jazz man at heart, the pianist exudes class. In his sweater vest and tie, Mark Randall sits down at his Baldwin, his sweet, battered Baldwin, nestled among the marble tables and plastic ferns, under the neon lights of the China Pagoda restaurant and the Hair Express salon. He begins to play. A standard, always. Porter. Gershwin. Jimmy Dorsey, perhaps. Some barely notice Randall as they pass through the old Lit Bros.
December 29, 2015 |
Samuel "Sam" Dockery, a pianist whose performances and recordings with prominent musicians made him an icon of Philadelphia's jazz scene, died Dec. 23 at the Burlington Woods health-care facility in Burlington, N.J., from Alzheimer's disease. He was 86. Mr. Dockery, who spent most of his life in and around Philadelphia, worked steadily from the 1950s through the 1990s, playing on dozens of albums and touring with such nationally recognized artists as Buddy Rich and Betty Carter. He played hard bop, a subgenre of jazz that incorporates influences from rhythm and blues as well as gospel music.
December 21, 2015
More than a box set, Vladimir Horowitz: The Unreleased Live Recordings 1966-1983 is closer to being its own musical planet, full of familiar yet strange creatures who adhere to no laws but their own. Of course, there's really only one creature, pianist Horowitz, a musician who truly lived up to the word legendary , though not necessarily because he was infallibly great. The 50-CD set ($149.52 on Amazon), originally recorded by Columbia (now Sony) and RCA, comes from a time when recording machines were ever-present at the live concerts he gave, recordings that were distilled down to an LP or two a year, with the rest left unheard by the public.
December 20, 2015
At 1 p.m. Sunday on WRTI-FM (90.1), the Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast is the annual Glorious Sound of Christmas concert, a tradition since the orchestra recorded its best-selling Glorious Sound of Christmas album in 1962. Featured is the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and conductor/pianist (and humorist) Bramwell Tovey.
November 18, 2015 |
By now, audiences know how Elton John pulled the legendary Leon Russell out of the near-obscurity of tinny homemade albums and tiny club gigs; how the Okie-born, boogie piano player, righteously ragged vocalist, and '60s session giant recorded a plush duet album with Elton (2010's The Union ) and got his groove back. In reality, Russell's own bootstrap-pulling since then has aided his comeback most. The fleshy Memphis vibes of 2014's Life Journey , the recent release of Les Blank's long-hidden documentary, A Poem is a Naked Person , and 2015 shows with the Tedeschi Trucks Band where Russell relived Mad Dogs & Englishmen , the pianist's raucous 1970 tour film with fellow white soul-shouter Joe Cocker, show that the wonky rock-and-roller is in (literal)
November 18, 2015 |
Exhibit One in the case for Astral Artists as a wise talent-spotter is Alexandre Moutouzkine, the Russian-born pianist who has spent the last half-dozen years impressing local listeners in a variety of chamber music, solo-recital, and concerto appearances. His latest coup was Sunday at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, where he joined two other superb Astral "graduates" in piano-trio repertoire that stretched the genre a bit. In January, Moutouzkine will step into the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's solo spot (with Rachmaninoff's Thirteen Preludes and Schumann's Carnaval )
November 12, 2015 |
Allen Toussaint, 77, the New Orleans songwriter and pianist responsible for a long list of hits recorded by artists that included Aaron Neville, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, Dr. John, Lee Dorsey, Warren Zevon, Robert Plant, Robert Palmer, and Devo, died of a heart attack Monday after a concert in Spain in the midst of a European tour. Tributes poured in from across the music world. "He was one of the most gentle, loving, and wise people I've ever known," Raitt wrote.
November 7, 2015 |
Though one of the most recorded and best reviewed pianists of her generation, Angela Hewitt has been an infrequent visitor to Philadelphia, her Tuesday recital presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society showing we haven't missed out on just her artistry but also her charm. Having launched her career as a Bach specialist in the post-Andras Schiff mode, Hewitt has since brought that concise naturalness to highly selective repertoire from Couperin to Messiaen. Her recital, encompassing Bach-era Iberia-based Domenico Scarlatti and later Spanish nationalists such as Albeniz and Falla, was a natural progression.
October 9, 2015 |
Turning 75, pianist Dave Burrell says, has given him the opportunity to "reflect back and think of all the people that I've met and played with. " It's certainly an impressive list, including substantial musical relationships with innovators like saxophonists Archie Shepp, David Murray, and Pharoah Sanders; bassist William Parker; and drummer Sunny Murray. One of the longest-lasting of those relationships has been with drummer Andrew Cyrille, who will join Burrell as the Full-Blown Duo on Saturday at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, one of two hometown celebrations of Burrell's birthday planned by Ars Nova Workshop.
September 22, 2015 |
Yet another charming, youthful conductor has arrived on classical music's doorstep. The 31-year-old Bulgarian Stilian Kirov, fresh from the associate conductorship of the Seattle Symphony, has promptly filled the void left by Symphony in C's departing longtime music director, Rossen Milanov. Kirov's debut concert Saturday at the Gordon Theater at Rutgers-Camden raised a lot of questions that will be answered only in future concerts, but one thing was clear: He is maintaining the orchestra's high standard of playing.