Filtering by Tag: solo piano
I recently posted a transcription of Duke Ellington's "The Single Petal of a Rose." Written in 1959, it wasn't officially released until the mid-1970s, save for one recording presented to the dedicatee, Queen Elizabeth II.
The song has been a favorite of mine for several years; you can read an earlier post I made about the song, including a YouTube recording, here.
This transcription is partially based on Ellington's original recording and partially based on memories I had of the David Berger transcription I originally got in undergrad and subsequently lost during a move. The loss of the Berger transcription was the impetus for writing out my transcription, as was the opportunity to demonstrate more of my engraving skills. I intentionally left out pedal markings, unlike the error-ridden version published by Hal Leonard, because each pianist is going to approach that differently (just as Ellington did, on different live recordings such as The Great London Concerts and The New York Concert, released by the Jazz Heritage Society). I also wanted to include the bass part, because even though the piece is frequently by a solo pianist, it originally had an arco bass that adds a different dimension to the piece.
I recently found a recording of the piece by Ben Webster, on his See You At the Fair album, and a horrible transcription of a great performance by Marcus Roberts is available on YouTube. My favorite recording remains, though, that of Sir Roland Hanna's from his Duke Ellington Piano Solos album - a superb masterclass in solo piano performance throughout. That's next on my list to transcribe; his slight changes in chords are fantastic, and the overall performance is sublime.
"'The Man I Love' is one of the great songs of all time, taking its place in immortality beside the finest love-songs by Dowland, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Gabriel Fauré, Henri du Parc, Hatton, Maude Valerie White, Cyril Scott, Roger Quilter, Debussy and John Alden Carpenter.
... Such similarities (to Grieg) amounts to almost identicalness! But none of this detracts from Gershwin's immense and indisputable originality. It only shows what a life-giving inspiration Grieg's startling innovations provided for almost all truly progressive composers that cam after him: Debussy, Ravel, Delius, Cyril Scot, Albeniz, Stravinsky, MacDowell, Gershwin. And it goes to prove how deeply Gershwin's genius (whatever inspiration it also drew from popular and local sources) was rooted in the traditions of classical cosmopolitan music. So much of Gershwin's unique and subtle greatness lies in his humanistic universalism - in his effortless ability to reconcile hitherto unreconciled contrasts and seemingly opposing tendencies."
-Percy Aldridge Grainger, June 22, 1994 (forward to his concert version of The Man I Love)
I'm proud to report that, even though it was a little dusty, my Real Book still functions properly. I won't go so far as to say it's aged like a fine wine - the missing table of contents and back pages would say otherwise - but it's still functional. I got it at Birch Creek Jazz Camp when I was in 11th grade (and somehow I've acquired both a Bb and bass clef version over the years, in what will probably go down as one of life's great mysteries) and put it to a lot of good use, but I haven't had much reason to use it lately.
But I brought it out for I had a gig two weeks ago at Krannert Center with two fine singers. We played for a wine tasting, and centered our musical presentation around showtunes. I played some solo tunes, and one of those - clearly not a showtune - was Fleurette Africaine by Duke Ellington:
I hadn't played this piece in public in a very long time, probably since my busy gigging days of late high school and early college. I love it, and while my rendition isn't as great as Vijay Iyer's (that goes without saying), I'm still happy with it.
Thanks for watching and listening!