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#2844089 05/01/19 09:59 AM
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Mood Island -- Erroll Garner arr Sy Johnson

Well, I'll start off the Piano Bar for this month -- here is the first of three submissions: a "tip of the hat" to the great Jazz pianist Erroll Garner. The first two are from a collection entitled "The Erroll Garner Songbook", which Cherry Lane Publishers issued shortly after Garner's sudden death at 53 years of age in 1977. Their biographical notes sum up what I remember about Garner: "Erroll Garner was a child prodigy...He was exposed to traditional music training; however, these attempts were foiled by his remarkable ear and incredible aural memory. Garner memorized everything at one hearing, eliminating the need to read. Musically self-taught, he created a new, original style and became a dominant influence on contemporary piano."

Again drawing from their notes: "'Mood Island' was written at a remarkable recording session in 1970 which also produced 'Something Happens (Feeling is Believing)'. It was composed and recorded in one take, as were the three other compositions from the same date...The album 'Feeling is Believing' was voted best jazz piano album of 1970 worldwide by readers of 'Jazz and Pop Magazine'".

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Eldorado -- Erroll Garner arr Sy Johnson

The second submission is a more up-tempo Latin composition. Again drawing from Cherry Lane's notes: "'Eldorado" is Erroll's funky Latin bag. It is one step up in difficulty from 'Mood island', but great fun to play, and has some wonderfully funky licks that lie well under the hands." In the interests of full disclosure, much of this rendition is not what Sy Johnson notated, but is more my own take on how the piece "moves". Just an added comment -- Garner in general did not authorize transcriptions and arrangements of his own compositions, which he himself never wrote down; however, he did make an exception with Sy Johnson after working with him extensively in 1976, with the intention of allowing publication of many of his compositions. Ironically, though, he died very suddenly in early 1977, making the publication a memorial with increased urgency, rather than a celebration of his considerable legacy.

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Babette -- Erroll Garner transcribed Morris Feldman

The final submission is "Babette" -- a slow blues number that comes much earlier than "The Erroll Garner Songbook". The publisher is still Cherry Lane, but it goes all the way back to 1950. By that time, Garner was already well known in the Jazz world (he emerged in the early 40s). And again, Cherry Lane provides precise notes: "This book contains various examples of the Garner style, some of which have never been recorded commercially. Garner's musical knack of improvising is best exemplified by 'Babette' which he composed completely at one 'take' at a private recording session...These solos were transcribed by Morris Feldman, an outstanding man in the field. Garner heard these played by Feldman and was amazed at their accuracy." Well, uh, this player cannot claim to much more than a rough approximation to accuracy -- it's chock full of arpeggiation flourishes up and down the keyboard, and loaded with open 10ths in the left hand that Garner could reach comfortably (although smallish in stature, he had enormous hands, capable of reaching a 12th) -- but hopefully I've caught some of the "juice" of his style.

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Tim Adrianson - That's an impressive selection under your fingers Tim, particularly Babette, how many notes ? lol

I am not really familiar with Errrol Garner (to my shame) so it's interesting to hear this selection , Mood Island appeals to me most and as ever your playing is top notch on all three.
So off to Youtube now to investigate Errol Garner. The two things I know about him are he did that playing behind the beat thing with his right hand and he wrote Misty, a tune I can't stand lol.

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Here's my contribution for May, my arrangement of a medley of standards:

A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square (1939)
Skylark (1941)
That's All (1952)

Medley

Last edited by jazztpt; 05/01/19 11:11 AM.
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Tim – Tribute to Erroll Garner Boy, you are quick with the Piano Bar. I like your approach of presenting one specific artist each month. So you picked Garner this month... I must say I am not as familiar with his music as he deserves, although I know him for “Misty”, of course, which is the only Garner piece I have ever played so far. So your recordings made me discover some more bits of this outstanding artist. “Eldorado” is very funky, indeed, I would not have thought it was by Garner. “Babette” is more what I would expect, with strides in the left hand. 10ths and 12ths, haha… Well, I do cope with tenths, they are not that much a problem, but I have not yet tried 12ths.

According to the principle that we can play what we want, I have recorded another Yiruma, this time something with less treble, melancholy and calm, but rhythmically interesting (not to be confused with "Mood Indigo" by Ellington).

Yiruma, Indigo

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Pianist685 - Well that was lovely to listen to with a very catchy hook which is already going around in my head :-) Nice.

Last edited by jazztpt; 05/01/19 11:19 AM.
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Jazztpt – Medley of 3 Jazz Standards It is always a great pleasure to listen to your renditions of jazz standards and your gently swinging impros. My favourite song in your bunch of 3 is “A Nightingale…” I remember I once heard a very artful vocal arrangement of this classic by The Manhattan Transfer in the 1970s or early 1980s when I was a teenager.

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Tim,
I have some Garner music but I never have got used to his style. On a technical note, your recorded volume has several parts that suddenly increase in volume which is not something I heard heard before in your recordings.

You may recall last month that I noted that you had had your piano tuned. Perhaps this recording is from an earlier time as the treble is way out of tune. Hope I have not offended?

Ian


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Tim,
Despite my earlier comment about Garner's style Babette and your playing was most enjoyable.
Ian


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jazztpt #2844403 05/02/19 06:08 AM
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Jazztpt,
A very nice balanced medley. I just wish my 72 year old fingers were as nimble as yours!
Ian


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Pianist685,
Yiruma is a new pianist for me but I liked Indigo. You might have read my comment earlier regarding's the volume on Tim's first piece. I noted the same effect on your Indigo. I cannot understand why this is happening. Perhaps there is a fault in my audio playback which I will investigate.
Ian


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Beemer, thanks for your kind comment. Here is Yiruma's Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiruma

I cannot detect any increase in volume in Tim's recordings, nor in mine. Maybe there is an issue with your playback programme?

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Tim and Pianist685,

Further to my comments on both your recordings I am pleased to say that the problem is the audio playback on my Galaxy tablet. Your recordings are okay on my desktop.
Ian


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Here are my May contributions:


Composed in 1926 by Ray Henderson...zag2hdfp38nviz6m, It's only a Paper Moon

Composed in 1933 by Hard Arlen


Composed in 1932 by Harold Arlen
...ukjkywgat93unn0ezrdj0aq,Fun to be Fooled

Composed in 1934 by Harold Arlen

I knew the first two songs but the last two were completely new to me today. I apologise for my mistakes on these but I just played them from first sight and did one take on each.

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Oops! I'll correct the file names
Ian


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Here are my May contributions: (second try)

The Birth of the Blues
Composed in 1926 by Ray Henderson and recorded that year by Paul Whiteman

It's only a Paper Moon
Composed in 1933 by Hard Arlen

I Got the Right to Sing the Blues
Composed in 1932 by Harold Arlen

Fun to be Fooled
Composed in 1934 by Harold Arlen

I knew the first two songs but the last two were completely new to me today. I apologise for my mistakes on these but I just played them from first sight and did one take on each.

Ian


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Beemer Your piano sounds great and you are a fine jazz pianist and obviously really good at sight reading. “The birth of the blues” is my favourite tune of your contributions. The Paul Whiteman Orchestra was one of the leading jazz bands in the late 1920s, with such great soloists like Bix Beiderbecke (a self-taught cornetist) who tragically died of pneumonia at 28 and a very young Bing Crosby as part of the “Rhythm Boys”, maybe the first boy group in popular music. “It’s only a paper moon” is another famous jazz standard. I did not know the other two pieces by Arlen, but it is always very interesting to hear less famous songs. The overall volume of your recordings could be a bit higher, I had to turn the volume on my notebook up to 100% and still found the level too low.

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Pianist 685,
Thanks for your kind comments. I normally listen back by connecting an optical cable from my ID44 audio interface to my Anthem 100W+100W rms AV receiver and Tannoy speakers. So bumping up my playback volume is not a problem. However it is quite easy for me to overdrive my digital output in Reaper my DAW software, when I render the file to flac. To avoid the horrible digital overdrive rasps I have recently been lowering the output volume to -12dB before rendering so that is probably why you found the volume too low. I lift it a little next time. I do wish that Frank would allow more than a few minutes (7?) before no further editing is allowed. I'm on other forums where a day is allowed.
Ian


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Tim, wow, excellent performances of those Garner tunes. I don't remember hearing them before but they certainly are appealing. I saw him play several times in the 50s/60s and it was always an exhiliarating experience. I used to really go into orbit listening to him play those insane left hand octave countermelodies. Anyway, it's great to hear these tunes of his, and played so well.

Russ, neat medley. I don't know if those songs fit together, or if you forced them to fit together, but in any case, they sound terrific in your medley.

Constantin, very appealing, very lyrical, to me. I looked at that wikipedia entry. I see they have some difficulty categorizing his music, as I do. But, whatever. Sounds good!

Ian, your first three pieces are songs I have been humming forever and a day, but the final one was new to me. They all sounded good to me, and I was amazed to read that they were all first takes.

My piece is Well You Needn't, one of those angular Thelonious Monk's tunes. I am playing from a lead sheet, accompanied by a backing track.

Ed

Well You Needn't


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

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