January 13, 2003 |
The greater the composer, the more serious is the skepticism greeting an undiscovered work. The classical music world has been burned of late by the resurrection of Beethoven orchestral works that the composer rightly left unfinished - though scholars who cobble them together from sketches argue otherwise. One of the few exceptions is Charles Ives' similarly reclaimed Emerson Concerto, heard here Friday in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's American Roots Festival. First played in 1998, the concerto not only sounds real, but important.
June 14, 2001 |
Deep into the third chorus of Randy Weston's "Hi Fly" Tuesday night at Zanzibar Blue, after Shirley Horn had toyed with the blues and played tense chordal clusters in a Thelonious Monk mood, she served up 16 perfect measures of jazz piano. It wasn't a particularly technical display, just block chords snapped out cleanly and quietly, with serene precision. Each time she repeated the phrase, she pushed a little more insistently against the rhythm, creating hiccups of syncopation that sent bassist Charles Ables and drummer Steve Williams scurrying down unexpected avenues.
April 19, 1993 |
Without words, pianist McCoy Tyner sat at the piano at the Keswick Theatre Saturday night and plunged into a kaleidoscopic take of Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays. " Tyner, who draws an incredibly big sound out of the piano's 88 keys, fluttered the melody like a pile of driven leaves and generated some searing heat with his solo, before taking the volume down for some soft repose and a gentle exit. Before the night was over, Tyner had ripped through "Giant Steps," written by John Coltrane, "my former boss," as Tyner put it. And he fashioned some sweet duets with the charming Marian McPartland, who performed her own solo set before Tyner's and shared the bill with him at the nearly full theater.
June 20, 1996 |
Mose Allison slept nearly an hour past his 7 p.m. starting time on Tuesday. He got a frog in his throat and had to break off in midtune for a little brandy. And his mike stand kept tipping over like a drunk. The blue-eyed blues singer and pianist had that kind of night, but there was nothing to fear. The soft-drawling son of Mississippi laid down a cornpone patter of gentle wit that delighted his audience at Zanzibar Blue, where he will play again tonight. Allison's antics had people laughing.
January 9, 2007 |
For reasons we won't speculate about here, the electric guitar never became the dominant means of expression for edgy women on the edge of a nervous breakdown, such as Tori Amos and Fiona Apple - striking, yet inelegant divas who tickle the ivories, casting spells in legato, and venting spleen in heart-shaped boxes of confessional songwriting. Add to the list Emily Haines, perhaps better known as the front woman of Metric, a band of chirpy Canadian neo-new wavers, and as a guest vocalist with the moody Toronto collective Broken Social Scene.
June 18, 2007 |
The house lights never dimmed at the Keswick Theatre on Friday night. Chick Corea and B?la Fleck preferred it that way: no concert-hall austerity, no darkness, but instead an informal living-room atmosphere. In this acoustically superb space, every nuance from Corea's piano and Fleck's banjo leapt from the stage, magnified and unblemished. Banjo? Not what you'd expect at a jazz gig. But Fleck has brought a new improvisational range to the instrument while preserving its backwoods flavor.
March 21, 1995 |
The Hancock Chamber Players made a compelling case for the unusual on Saturday. The ensemble, which played in an intimate room at Abington Friends Meeting in Jenkintown, consists of oboist Lisa Kozenko, hornist Martin Webster and pianist Dana Burnett. This improbable combination doesn't enjoy a wide repertory. The trio, then, didn't program a performance as much as it cooked up one. What the musicians served the audience proved successful in every sense: three tasteful and skillfully crafted transcriptions for horn, oboe and piano; two gems, rescued from obscurity, for solo instruments and piano; and one group of three solo piano pieces by Debussy.
July 21, 1988 |
Everyone asks Remo Saraceni about his piano. The president of Techno Future Inc. of Philadelphia has been getting even more queries since the hit movie Big opened in June. The piano - actually an electronic keyboard so big it can be walked on, even danced on - enabled actors Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia to tap out "Heart and Soul" and "Chopsticks" with comic acrobatics. Audiences must like what they see. In a matter of weeks, the dance has transformed Saraceni's sleepy, high-tech design manufacturing company at 400 Green St. into a business with anticipated multimillion-dollar sales this year.
February 2, 1993 |
Marcantonio Barone returned Sunday to his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, to play a recital of short pieces by short-lived composers. The pianist chose miniatures by Chopin, Schumann and Ernest Chausson. It wasn't until the second half of the program that Barone could take a stab at maintaining interest over a longer period of time - in Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition - and even that, although a lengthy piece, is made of 16 short sections. Yet there are ways to establish relationships among the movements, and Barone exploited them only to a minor degree.
January 29, 1992 |
The national touring version of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson," which last night opened a two-week run here, is a disappointment on several counts. The choice of venue - the Merriam Theater (nee Shubert) - conspires against the production at every turn: the Merriam simply is too big a house to properly show off a serious straight play composed mainly of intimate groupings; too much of the dialogue disappears into thin air, and what does get out to the audience arrives in an echoey haze.