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pianoman (Essex UK)

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Vol 4
Vol 4
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £32.95

5.0 out of 5 stars An Exibition by a Jazz Piano Genius, 31 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Vol 4 (Audio CD)
I have been fortunate enough to aquire this CD after once hearing something by Walter Norris on the radio.

If you regularly listen to jazz pianists you will as I was, be almost immediately struck by Norris's originality and sound world. His arrangements and improvisations are carefully structured to such an extent that as a pianist you would think they had been written down and learned. His playing is technically supurb and at times (on "Scrambled" for instance) breathtakingly so. I can only say that his style is an amalgam of Chopinic virtuousity infused with jazz rhythm and harmony. He has an unusual way of approaching harmony and uses counterpoint in is playing. His left hand accompanying methods are quite unique.

Some research indicates that he was a completely devoted musician who lived his whole life practising to achieve perfection and listening to this recording, you can well believe it. The fact that it is a live recording of one concert further gives cause for astonishment.

As with all the Maybeck Hall series, the recorded sound and Yamaha concert grand are outstanding. If I could only have one Walter Norris recording, this would be it. Walter Norris at his best!

Debussy: Complete Piano Music
Debussy: Complete Piano Music
Price: £12.23

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interpretive Master, 31 Dec. 2012
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I'm afriad I have to disagree with scriabinmahler. Mr Fergus-Thompson's interpretation of Debussy's piano works is quite extraordinary and every bit as fine as can be heard by any other pianist. He exhibits such masterly tone control so important in this music. As for technique you need to listen only to Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum,(his tempo even faster than the composer's indication, but with complete clarity and balance) to appreciate his technical prowess. As an educator, he clearly has lived and breathed this music. The fact that he recorded all of it in such short period surely confirms this. The acoustics of Henry Wood Hall and a good choice of instrument make these recordings a joy to listen to. Thoroughly recommended as a "bench mark" recording.

Place To Be
Place To Be
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiromi - True Acoustic Artist, 31 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Place To Be (Audio CD)
I have casually followed Hiromi's output and not being one who is usually keen on electro-jazz funk, have none the less been highly impressed with what she does. So it was a nice suprise to hear this solo album. If you like Hiromi, then you will not be dissapointed. Don't be put off by it being solo acoustic piano.

Some say that the Japanese make supurb engineers and technicians, perfecting the ideas and products of others, but lack creative ability and original thought. Hiromi's trade mark is her sparkling technique, dynamic energy and subtle lyricism. She has enthusiam in bucket loads and her sense of fun always comes across in her playing. It is true that stylistically her first rate musical education often makes reference to others, Oscar Peterson and Errol Garner in particular. But underneath that gloss of the highly trained technician there lies a truly evolving artist. She has capitalised on her almost unique abilities for speed and articulation to find her own way of expressing herself. How much of the music is improvisation on this recording is an interesting question and only for the purist. It makes little difference, as they are all highly interesting. All are original works too, with the exception of Berne Baby Berne (Loue Bellson and Remo Palmier) and the Pachebel Canon. The latter to my ear does not seem to work well with the added keyboard sound (or is it harpsicord ?).(Actually, I find from an interview she gave to Keyboard Magazine, it seems Hiromi used a metal ruler on the strings, removing and replacing it as she played, which is very difficult to do).

Highlights are the original and imaginative BQE, Sicilian Blue, Islands Azores and of course the melodically beautiful title track.

Part of the enjoyment of Hiromi's music is to watch her perform, if you haven't already done so, catch her playing Place To Be on YouTube and you'll see just what I mean.

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