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Stride piano favorite


John Gallup
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This record isn't new by any means; the liner notes are dated June 1987, and Hodes himself died in '93. But I've loved stride piano  and his music since I heard him on "A Prairie Home Companion" many years ago. There's something about the ability of pianists to play radically different rhythms with each hand that really appeals to me, a rhythmically challenged person. This album of traditional songs is solo piano, which some would argue isn't "jazz" at all because there is no interplay between musicians, but for me this can all happen with one player, particularly one whose left hand is so metronomically perfect that you could regulate your watch by it while his right hand is varying melody and rhythm in wonderful ways.

I've bought a bunch of Hodes' stuff on CD and then vinyl, and the recording quality varies; one favorite record drove me nuts thinking my turntable was wowing and fluttering excessively—until I realized it was (probably) the original or some intermediate tape recorder because other tracks on the record were fine. Not all the available recordings are top quality, but "Blues in the Night" really sounds superb to me.  It isn't on Tidal, so far as I can tell, but this one is, and it's full of wonders:

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So far John, I've not become a solo piano fan; most likely because I miss that interplay between musicians that you mention.  I bought an Art Tatum disc a while back and I don't think I've even listened to it yet.  Although, I do have enormous respect for one that has the ability of pianists to play radically different rhythms with each hand.  So, I will dip my toes into Mr. Hodes' work. 

A different genre, but what came to my mind while reading your post was Tony Banks intro to Firth Of Fifth from the Genesis album Selling England By The Pound.  Every time I hear it, I'm mesmerized by that ability to do such different things with each hand.  

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If it is Stride piano you want, then Fats Waller would be my choice. Amazing technique as well as very enjoyable- His records sold well. Unfortunately, well before stereo, but you still can hear the greatness.

Another very competant Stride pianist is Dick Hyman-more current, and has a nice discography, too. He also does the music for a lot of Woody Allen movies

B

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  • 3 weeks later...

Earl "Fatha" Hines for me is near the top of any stride pianist list- or any jazz pianist list for that matter.  He had "the trickiest left hand in the business", led big bands for through the 30s and 40s and enjoyed a resurgence in the 60s.  I've read that he had a band in the early 40 that included Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan. Unfortunately that was during the recording strike so don't think there is a recording out there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guy Van Duser is a phenomenal finger picker heavily influenced by stride piano. Killer album, I highly recommend. Below is a quote from a review:

Stride Guitar was recorded in 1980, and epitomizes this artist's musical influences and preferences. The title perfectly describes his Harlem stride piano-inspired jazz guitar technique, while the composers tapped for melodies include Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Richard Whiting, Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh, and Jerome Kern.

Bruce

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  • 2 months later...
2 hours ago, TomicTime said:

@HolmzCharm Skool for Wayward Audiophiles…. Let her know you are on track to graduate eventually along with all us Vander Katz.

But I think I lost points when I mentioned “Vivaldi and the 4 seasons”.
She said, “It is Vivaldi’s ‘four seasons’ . ”
I said, “Yeah I know, it was before they immigrated to New Jersey and played with Franky Valli.”

Then I made up a bit of ground when I put on some George Benson though… she liked that as well.
(Luckily I did not mention his earlier work as the duo “Benson and Hedges”.)

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