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S J Buck (Kent, UK)
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The Billy Taylor Collection (Artists Piano Transcriptions)
The Billy Taylor Collection (Artists Piano Transcriptions)
by June Spot Publications
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I wanted...., 24 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as I have long been after a transcription of " I wish I knew...". Sadly the transcription here is not the famous version* used on the BBC film program for decades. Theres nothing wrong with the version here, but its different, and I can't find a recording on CD it.

However the rest of the book is good. A number of other interesting Billy Taylor originals as well as some standards. Its worth noting that he uses tenths quite a lot, so if you struggle beyond an octave with your left-hand you'll have to compromise somewhere.

The Book contains:
A Bientot
All the Things You are
For Undine
Gone with the wind
I Didn't Know What Time It was
I Wish I Knew How...
Make A Joyful Noise (suite of pieces)
A Tune for Howard to Improvise On
Uncle Bob

Most of these pieces are the versions from his solo Piano album "Billy Taylor: Solo", so you can hear what they should sound like.

In classical terms the pieces range in standard from grade 5 upwards, with the average probably being grade 7. Of course this is a book of jazz transcriptions so reading the notes won't make it sound right unless you have a feel for the music.

*Subsequently I found you can get the famous version of "I Wish I Knew...." from a number of digital sheet music sites, and I now have a copy.


Bach: Prelude in C Major: Concert Performer Series [With CD]
Bach: Prelude in C Major: Concert Performer Series [With CD]
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 24 April 2014
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I bought this for my Mum to try and tempt her back to Piano. This Bach prelude is the one easy one, being only about grade 4/5 standard. Given that you get a recording of the piece as well and its all very nicely packaged for the price I can't find fault with the product.

The alternative is to buy the first of Preludes and Fugues, but the other 23 in this series are all difficult. So if you only want the one easy piece of Bach this is it!


Gershwin: Complete Works for Solo Piano (Alfred's Masterwork Editions)
Gershwin: Complete Works for Solo Piano (Alfred's Masterwork Editions)
by George Gershwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous music, 24 April 2014
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I've just received my copy of this today, and what a treat. For an average Pianist like myself (grade 6 classical a long time ago and basically a blues player now) the 136 pages here represent years of study. Some of it is frankly beyond me. I will never have the time learn the 20 pages of Rhapsody in Blue whilst I still have to work. This is a post grade 8 piece.

However some of the shorter pieces are more playable and the book contains "Three-Quarter Blues" apparently the easiest authentic original Gershwin piece. This is probably about grade 4 standard.

It has to be said though that these being authentic George Gershwin arrangements, the vast majority here are difficult (grade 7) or higher, so whilst you are purchasing some of the finest 20th century music, be aware that you will need to be a good reader or prepared to practice a lot!


Valkyrie [Blu-ray]
Valkyrie [Blu-ray]
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 28 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Valkyrie [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This film tells the true story of the attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20th 1944. I saw it at the cinema, have rented it more than once and ultimately bought the bluray, once I realised that this was more than just another Tom Cruise starring role vehicle. I'm not a fan of Cruise, but then again I'm not a Cruise hater like some who have reviewed the movie here. He has made some good movies in his time. In my view this is his best.

Tremendous efforts have been made for the film to be historically accurate, whilst keeping it entertainingly tense for the audience. Yes there are compromises, and little changes to make the film flow correctly, but nothing that detracts from the overall portrayal of an important historical event. If you listen to the commentary on the bluray with Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer (director) and Christopher McQuarrie (writer) most of these compromises are explained.

The film was largely shot in Germany, with an amazing cast of British and German actors, including the Grandson of Stauffenberg in a minor role. Many of the actors bare some resemblance to the characters they are portraying. The locations and cast are brilliantly used by Singer and his editor John Ottman.

The extras on the bluray are good with two commentary tracks, as well as the usual making of type film, and historical background documentaries.

As a companion piece I'd recommend the made for TV film "Conspiracy". Both films hold up to repeated viewings, and both are amongst my favourite, which seems an inappropriate word to use, war movies.


Oscar Peterson: Tracks
Oscar Peterson: Tracks
by Tim Rodier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Oscar Peterson: Tracks (Paperback)
This is a book of sheet music, that gives you the a complete transcription of the Oscar Peterson solo Piano album 'Tracks'. The album is one of my all time favourites and as an amateur Pianist myself I've long been after the transcriptions of the 10 tracks on the album.

My particular favourite and the one that I have wanted to see written out is "Give Me the Simple Life". This starts in locked hands mode (as invented by Milt Buckner) and is a striking arrangement. The humorously titled "A Little Jazz Exercise" is also a gem. There are also some lovely ballad arrangements which show a side of Oscar Peterson that is frequently forgotten about.

You will need to a good reader and have good technique, or be prepared to practice these endlessly to make them sound the way they do when Oscar Peterson plays them. I'd certainly recommend getting a copy of the album. In classical terms 9 out of 10 of these pieces are around grade 8 standard. In a number of cases I think they are well beyond grade 8. The lovely version of "A Child Is Born" is the only exception, which might be around grade 6 or more likely grade 7. Still you wouldn't buy a book of Oscar Peterson sheet music and expect anything else.

Good luck!


Stretching the Standards: Imaginative Arrangements for Piano
Stretching the Standards: Imaginative Arrangements for Piano
by Dick Hyman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.63

4.0 out of 5 stars As expected, 11 Mar 2014
I received this as a birthday present and so far I am enjoying it a lot. I cannot understand how one of the reviewers on Amazon.com gave the book 1 star, saying he found it difficult to play! What do you expect; Dick Hyman is a professional Jazz Pianist and he is NOT going to write three blind mice arrangements of these 12 songs.

So yes the arrangements are difficult, and harmonically they do move the songs "into new territory" (Dick Hyman's own words). However I've spent some time playing the arrangement of 'The Way You Look Tonight', and whilst I certainly can't play it fluently IMO it is an excellent arrangement.

The songs are:
Hello Young Lovers
Lady of the Evening
The last time I saw Paris
Long Ago (and far away)
The Night is Filled with Music
People Will Say We're In Love
Remember
The Song is You
The Sweetest Sounds
This Nearly Was Mine
The Way You Look Tonight
We Kiss in a Shadow

My reasons for not giving the book 5 stars are as follows. 1. The book is the sort that over time might (it might not of course) result in the pages detaching from the spine. 2. I only know a couple of the 12 songs so need to listen to the original songs to find out whether the arrangements are all as interesting as the couple I've looked at.

In summary a well produced volume of sheet music. In classical terms I'd rate most of the music at a high grade, 7 or 8. The book is only 46 pages with an introduction by Dick Hyman.


Piano Jazz With Milt Hinton
Piano Jazz With Milt Hinton

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 28 Feb 2014
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Big a Jazz fan as I am, I have to admit that I was only vaguely familiar with the name Milt Hinton. Well the moment I started playing this I knew it was good, and when he played his rap I knew it was great. A fabulous bass player who has a rich seam of stories to tell both musically and verbally. Marian McPartland is the perfect host. She was a brilliant musician herself, and this recording is another classic in the Piano Jazz radio show she hosted for 34 years. Sadly both have now passed away. I don't know how many other recordings of the two of them playing together there are (quite a few I suspect given the length of both their careers), but with the fascinating discussions included here this is as good a recording to start with as any.


Man of Steel [DVD]
Man of Steel [DVD]
Dvd ~ Henry Cavill
Price: £5.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What could have been..., 23 Feb 2014
This review is from: Man of Steel [DVD] (DVD)
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that this rather annoyed me. It is mainly well acted and the cast are all pretty good, and in some cases excellent. Where its at its best is when Superman isn't Superman. He is a just a boy, or man, who is blessed with God like powers and doesn't understand why. The back-story of General Zod and the baby being sent from Krypton has been done before, but this was a decent attempt to put a new vision on that.

Where this falls apart is Superman being Superman. He and the people he's battling have a devastating effect on the surrounding environment, i.e. the destruction is huge, but and its a huge but, IMO it doesn't make good cinema. The CGI is pretty good, but still obviously CGI, and the repetitions of Superman or his enemies crashing through walls and petrol stations goes on and on.

Sadly all the good character based development is lost in the mayhem in the later part of the film and started not caring about what was going on. Still its better than Superman Returns...


Single Adult Sleeping Bag with Carry Bag perfect for Tent Camping Festival
Single Adult Sleeping Bag with Carry Bag perfect for Tent Camping Festival
Offered by The Magic Toy Shop
Price: £10.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warmish, 22 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A lightweight sleeping bag that for the money represented good value. But as a few other people have commented this could only be used in reasonably warm conditions; its simply not warm enough for chilly nights. Also it would be no good for very tall people. I'm 6' 1" and this is a good fit, but if you are taller than that you might start to struggle.

It arrives in a nicely compact bag and served its purpose for me.


Lite Sports Cyclone Waterproof Running Jacket - X Large
Lite Sports Cyclone Waterproof Running Jacket - X Large

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fit for purpose, 22 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased this last May for use in an ultra Marathon, and found it to be a very good top layer. Subsequently I have used it as a normal jacket during Autumn and Spring and recently (a week ago) again used it as the top layer in an ultra marathon. It certainly is not a winter running jacket, but it is shower proof (I've not been out in a downpour in it) and provides some wind protection.

I ran and walked over 110 miles in those two events and for the price I paid I don't think I could have got a better value for money top layer.


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