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Author Topic: Your favorite jazz pianist?  (Read 1555 times)
chopinlover01
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« on: March 13, 2017, 05:36:23 PM »

I'm officially a convert to jazz. Dropping classical lessons and taking jazz.

Who are your favorite jazz pianists? Mine right now is Tommy Flanagan.

I know a lot of you will mention Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, so if you do, please be kind and include another to keep it varied Smiley

Cheers!
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stevensk
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 07:01:47 PM »


-Hiromi Uehara!! She is absolutely the most competent jazz pianist I ever ever  heard. She is also deeply intrested and influenced by classical composers, pianists and "classical trainings"

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ted
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 10:02:58 PM »

Mary Lou Williams, it seems to me, had more subtlety, wider dynamic range, and more vital articulation of phrase and rhythm, than her more famous contemporaries. Unfortunately, she made far fewer solo recordings than they did. A good collection is on iTunes under the name "Nite Life". She was remarkably versatile and, unlike most jazz pianists, did not hesitate to expand her musical language into new regions as she aged, as pieces such as "A Fungus Amungus" show.

I enjoy some, but by no means all, of Jarrett's solo concerts, but these are more jazz influenced free improvisation and might not qualify as jazz per se.

There is a quality in Brubeck's solo playing which appeals to me; related to the Milhaud influenced combinatoric approach to harmony I think, rather than the odd metres he was more renowned for. There are not many solo recordings which exhibit this, a good one being the CD of pieces recorded in his house with a tape recorder - "Brubeck plays Brubeck".

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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 01:33:29 AM »

Monk. My favorite jazz musicians are usually not pianists, but he is the exception.
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 02:31:31 AM »

Uehara as mentioned, there is not a ton of Kapustin playing but I love everything I have seen so he's on my list
Thomas Enhco as well


I'm sure I have a couple or so others but these 3 are on my watch list most of the time...
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huaidongxi
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 04:47:32 AM »

tommy flanagan is one of the under appreciated greats.  understated style, and while not being closely associated with any particular post bebop style or star ensemble contributes to the under appreciation, he was part of the watershed session in post bebop, Giant Steps of course.  really a gentle, kind soul as well, once had lunch with him with a very small party.

have listened to 1000's more hours of jazz piano than euro-american 'classical', and to generalize, almost every pianist in jazz post 1960 who's gained any commercial visibility plays derivatively to varying degrees under the influences of Powell, Monk, Evans. much of what gets transmitted in the jazz conservatories like Berklee comes from those sources.  most players with training do not sound like Cecil Taylor or Don Pullen, who found a bit more of their own personal way on the instrument. powell, monk, evans of course have influences that go back further (to Ellington and Tatum for example, each in their manner the apotheosis of swing piano), but unless a pianist sticks to a more discrete (readily discernible) style of swing, stride, blues/boogie, new age/world, New Orleans, (s)he plays their musics.

nearly all of the great 'classical' composers for the piano other than Schubert were piano virtuosi.  of the present classical virtuosi, doubtful if many will be canonical composers to the same degree as Saint Saens, Albeniz,Villa Lobos, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Prokofiev, Bartok, for an abbreviated menu of just 20th century players.  from the trinity of bebop and after titans, Monk stands alone in stature as a canonical composer.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 06:39:08 PM »

You met Tommy Flanagan? I'm jealous as all hell.

Also, Barry Harris is an absolute beast and is also under appreciated. Absolutely nails everything he plays (I also like his writing; Morning Coffee is a great tune).
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j_tour
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 07:29:23 PM »

Well, for me it kind of starts with Bud Powell, and of the Bud disciples, I like Elmo Hope and agree that Barry Harris has some legendary melodic solos.  My personal bebop guru is Frank Hewitt, but he's not very well-represented on record. 

Herbie and Bill are another strand, each very different but strong bebop players with some very individual quirks.  I still listen to them.  McCoy, from about the same generation, is a technical monster, but I can't play like him and don't really relate to his playing.

So, yeah, basically, Bud and Elmo Hope.  Old school but a good school.
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kalospiano
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 09:42:01 PM »

I loved Hiromi's first album... Xyz, Summer Rain, Double Personality, Dançando No Paraiso, The Tom and Jerry Show... all great tracks.
Unfortunately didn't manage to appreciate the rest of her works as much.

I only know a few of Hancock's pieces, but this live version of Watermelon Man starting at 3:53 is just awesome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzPZvKSdN7g
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tinyhands
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 11:10:33 PM »

Bill Evans -just beautiful phrasing. 'You never master the instrument, you just strive to get better'

 James Booker New Orleans Jazz pianist 'the best black gay one eyed junkie pianist New Orleans ever produced'

Vince Guaraldi -snoopy and peanuts jazz soundtrack gave me my first taste of jazz as a child and stuck with me ever since.

Billy Taylor -wonderful player and jazz educator.

my four favourites, if I had to but there are so many more...  Grin
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tinyhands
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 11:16:14 PM »

Nearly forgot Joey Alexander a young up and coming kid who plays beyond his years.one to watch out for...I think he might be self taught too.  Grin

https://youtu.be/f4V_uaxBVOw

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kalospiano
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2017, 06:37:54 AM »

That little kid is unbelievable.
Perfect video for adult learners to feel bad about themselves  Grin
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2017, 04:34:41 PM »

Joey Alexander is who I watch whenever I need to lower my self esteem.

Outin, who're your favorite jazz musicians in general? I'd be interested to hear.

I went to a lesson yesterday for jazz, and my teacher had me repeat after him "All musicians study Coltrane's music; we do it for a month every year, and take the other 11 off for psychology."
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tinyhands
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 10:13:12 AM »

chopinlover01 haha like your teacher's style..Kalospiano, yes Joey Alexander is incredible he seems like such an old soul playing, watch this version of Over the rainbow...I actually made me cry when I heard it..he just seems so at one with the music and really feels it, it's just beautiful to watch.  Smiley

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_1liUart72g

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outin
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2017, 11:32:10 AM »


Outin, who're your favorite jazz musicians in general? I'd be interested to hear.
Jazz to me is more about the ensemble than individual musicians...The great bass and percussion players are what the music builds on. But have to admit I am a bit of a sucker for the sax... Ornette Coleman, John Coltraine, Kenny Garret, Wayne Shorter, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Fortune, Anthony Braxton, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ken Mcintyre, Ben Webster...not to mention the many wonderful more recent smooth jazz players...seems I am not good at picking favorites:)

Don't listen to much jazz these days due to my obsession with piano music..too much music in the world and too little time Sad
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2017, 12:05:24 PM »

I was inspired to jazz piano upon hearing this recording of the Filipino jazz virtuoso, Bobby Enriquez.



In my opinion he possessed a degree of freedom and communicative power that flowed like water that few have, or has, matched.

But "favorite" is hard to determine.
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themeandvariation
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2017, 01:09:12 PM »

Not much mention of Anthony Braxton, or Roland Kirk 'round these parts..but you lost me at smooth jazz.  'elevator', indeed.
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2017, 02:20:16 PM »

Not much mention of Anthony Braxton, or Roland Kirk 'round these parts..but you lost me at smooth jazz.  'elevator', indeed.
I've always preferred elevators to stairs Wink
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2017, 03:45:58 PM »

Mingus was also a pianist but that's not why I love him, I see him as one of the greatest composers in jazz:





So I'm guessing you've betrayed Schubert ad Chopin? Sigh...!
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2017, 03:55:40 PM »

Mingus was also a pianist but that's not why I love him, I see him as one of the greatest composers in jazz
And you are absolutely right!
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2017, 04:28:28 PM »

Anthony Braxton,

Found this gem in YT and the pianist Marilyn Crispell is pretty cool too (listen to her solo from 38:50):

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themeandvariation
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2017, 10:30:48 PM »

An interesting piece by Braxton.. (aside from the technically poor recording).. I felt Ms. Crispell's solo   (mostly rhythmical - and expressionist - pitchwise) -  is something Cecil Taylor has spent volumes on:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EstPgi4eMe4

But...Have you heard of (the brilliant) Henry Threadgill? from the "too much sugar for a dime" album,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jm-v6YlSTA - (how can you sit still? Awesome take on post modernism!



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themeandvariation
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2017, 10:44:53 PM »

.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2017, 11:08:36 PM »

Bill Evans -just beautiful phrasing. 'You never master the instrument, you just strive to get better'

 James Booker New Orleans Jazz pianist 'the best black gay one eyed junkie pianist New Orleans ever produced'

Bill Evans, not just beautiful phrasing, but utterly unique, individual melodic lines, and he was the first bebop-school player to really use some of the classical technique freely -- both hands, scalar passages a third apart, and stuff like that, including some rhythmic stuff (you know, thirds against four or fives on four and polyrhythms in general).  His music should seem oddly familiar for people who have read through much Debussy in all regards. John Lewis, certainly did a lot of this, but as much as I've come to love the MJQ and Lewis's playing (I didn't even know until pretty recently he was on some of those original records with Bird), his emphasis was different.

Yeah, James Booker -- I play almost subconsciously a lot of "easy-listening"-type pop tunes of yesteryear in his style.  He was a considerable composer and pianist.

I probably shouldn't think this way, but off-the-cuff, I do think about "jazz" as meaning basically bebop or bebop-school players (including everyone like Joe Henderson, Herbie, Bill, Chick) and then stride/ragtime, and then New Orleans/rock/blues/country in their own categories.  And then Hammond organ jazz is its own category, with its own "must-know" standard tunes and idioms.

I guess, since the "tent" is so broad, when I think of "jazz piano," my mind recalls Bud, Elmo Hope, Sonny Clark, Horace Silver, Herbie, Bill, John Lewis, Red Garland, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, and, speaking of Monk, I think he's a fine pianist, not just a brilliant composer.  The way he can use stride LH instead of the "regular" shells/scales-in-octaves/"rootless voicings" always amazes me and inspires me.  
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outin
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2017, 04:21:48 AM »

An interesting piece by Braxton.. (aside from the technically poor recording).. I felt Ms. Crispell's solo   (mostly rhythmical - and expressionist - pitchwise) -  is something Cecil Taylor has spent volumes on
True, it's more interesting as part of an ensemble though. Solo piano improvisations are really not for me.

Btw. This thread got me spending hours on YT...so much rare stuff emerging that I could never have heard 20 years ago. The hell with copyright  Grin

Also I had one of my nasty headaches but it was cured by listening to Braxton. Free jazz is also healthy Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2017, 10:26:14 PM »

Art Tatum for me!  He is a super genius among pianists. Then Oscar Peterson.  I’m sure you won’t abandon Chopin and others as a jazz pianist.  Classical playing will only help your jazz ability IMO.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2017, 02:14:28 AM »

Art Tatum for me!  He is a super genius among pianists. Then Oscar Peterson.  I’m sure you won’t abandon Chopin and others as a jazz pianist.  Classical playing will only help your jazz ability IMO.
Personally, I put Oscar above Art. Art was a maniac, but his style of playing was fairly limited; mostly stride solo stuff. Within that, he was a freak of nature, but Oscar has much more versatility.
While the technical basis from classical is a plus (though it's a myth that jazz players are less technically skilled, or that you need to play classical to have good chops), classical doesn't teach you the two most important aspects of jazz: good swing and improvisation. You'll pick up good reading skills and good technique, but to do both of those things well requires a well trained ear (something I find frequently lacking in classical players, as we prefer to go by the score).
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huaidongxi
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« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2017, 09:55:28 AM »

what I hear in Peterson is very strongly derivative from Tatum, so in my mind it's not quite a fair comparison to make, if peterson is building on a someone else's foundation with the advantage of evolving later in a rapidly changing musical culture (the revolution earlier brought up, bebop from swing).  post swing pianism is expected to be more complex than tatum's (or teddy wilson's) music. rhythmically, peterson does not quite do enough for me, in terms of propulsion, not that he's deficient, just a bit reticent. Red Garland isn't close to Peterson technically, nor is he as diverse and varied, but rhythmically he pulls me in while Peterson does not.

if anyone is including post-1959 music in their studies (and there's plenty of 'jazz' that doesn't have to expand past that time line, including but hardly restricted to stride, New Orleans, swing, sedate embellishment of the 'great american songbook' and the like), what your teacher said on Coltrane is the closest we have to an absolute truth about the music.
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huaidongxi
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« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2017, 10:10:28 AM »

j_tour, you probably know this already about the grandmagister thelonious sphere monk, but the left hand stride technique he injects comes right out of the milieu of his 1920s childhood, the San Juan hill district of manhattan.  his first serious paying gig as a pianist was with a touring gospel choir as a teenager, so providing the strong pulse was essential there as well.

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huaidongxi
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« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2017, 10:38:09 AM »

outin, as you are a Braxton fan, and he's quite prolix in his recorded output -- probably you've heard it, but if not, "Conference of the Birds" (title from a Sufi fable), a session led by Dave Holland, with a second sax/flute from Sam Rivers.  Holland has a gift for putting ensembles together, like the other bass guys Mingus of course and Charlie Haden.  in the late phase of the vinyl record era Haden led two different quartets, one on his u.s. record label with Redman and Jarrett, the other for Manfred Eicher with Garbarek on sax.  and none have surpassed Mingus or Haden(Liberation Music) with the 'small big band' ensemble arrangements.

since Rahsaan Roland Kirk has also been invoked here, some listeners might not be aware that he had a stroke toward the end of his career and relearned playing all his reeds with one hand -- saw three performances of his through the years, one from his last period, and if you weren't aware of his 'handicap' you couldn't tell any music was missing when he only had one hand for the fingering.
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2017, 01:35:27 AM »

j_tour, you probably know this already about the grandmagister thelonious sphere monk, but the left hand stride technique he injects comes right out of the milieu of his 1920s childhood, the San Juan hill district of manhattan.  his first serious paying gig as a pianist was with a touring gospel choir as a teenager, so providing the strong pulse was essential there as well.



Yeah, I did know something about his past -- I'm not an historian, just watch the documentaries and read the liner notes, but I think a lot of that generation came up with it too.  IMHO (I added the 'H' because there are people who study this stuff, I'm just only in it for the music), most of Bud's LH tenths-n-msevenths is all straight out of (a) abstracting from stride and (b) already done in Art Tatum. 

You have to admit, hearing him play "Trinkle Tinkle" with that stride -- it's on the one hand kind of natural (hey, four beats to the bar, simple changes [allowing for the substitutions]), on the other it puts into concrete reality the bebop idea of cramming a lot of notes per beat, across beats, and on the third hand, it's a tune that a lot of people associate with Coltrane's performance(s) of with Monk, sort of proto-free-jazz.


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« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2017, 05:32:34 AM »

j_tour, if you didn't know this about bud powell already, he grew up in manhattan too, in the very cradle of stride piano, Harlem, where his father was a well known stride pianist. so he probably had the music infused into him from the womb. in any event he was performing his versions of Fats Waller and James P.Johnson at the age of ten.  his parents gave him and his brother Richie (who grew up to become a bebop pianist nearly the peer of his sibling) serious piano training and had hopes one or both would become 'classical' performers, and this contributed to their formidable technique.  powell aspired to the virtuosity and brilliance of tatum, but still an adolescent he visited one of Harlem's famous clubs and met Thelonious Monk, six or seven years his elder, and the die was cast for powell becoming one of the preeminent bebop piano innovators along with his comrade/mentor monk.  they also had serious mental illness in common as well.

Polyrhythms were part of the foundation of jazz from its earliest days of fusing African, Caribbean, Spanish, euroamerican musics in and around New Orleans at the beginning of the modern age.  bebop and post bebop followed the paradigm of a scientific revolution, when innovators had the means to collaborate and interact to accelerate the advance of their disciplines.  if you check the personnel of some bands of the swing era (not just Ellington's), Billy Eckstein's for example, you'll notice leading names of bebop filling the instrumentalist's chairs.  charlie parker was already known to be studying scores of stravinsky in '44-45.  when coltrane came out of his stint with the monk band -- while also holding down a spot with miles davis -- one of the tools to build the foundation of his own new music, while synthesizing what he'd done with davis and monk (even earlier he relied on playing blues and rhythm and blues to make his living, and along with his childhood steeped in the AME church,blues/gospel was still deeper in coltrane's foundation), another Russian work, Nicolai Slominsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns".  Russian composition theory and Indian music ended up in the crucible that created bebop and post bebop.
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« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2017, 12:00:03 AM »

I second Bill Evans heartily.

I looove this video of Hiromi playing the Tom and Jerry theme song Smiley

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HcKrd3K8_A
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2017, 01:57:11 PM »

Cory Henry is fire
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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2017, 10:11:47 AM »

just discovered Ryo Fukui and I'm so freaking impressed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hrr3dp7zRQY


I seem to read that the guy only started playing at 22 and produced the above masterpiece six years later... maybe there's still hope for us late starters Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2017, 08:20:53 PM »

Can never come up with a single favourite, but Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, Dick Hyman...
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« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2017, 07:45:23 PM »

noted with deep sorrow, one of the great contributors to the piano and the jazz tradition passed recently, Geri Allen.  Mary Lou Williams was mentioned here as an all time favourite, and Allen was her spiritual heir.

http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/06/27/534409838/geri-allen-pianist-composer-and-educator-dies-at-60

Allen wrote her master's thesis on Eric Dolphy.  here is her tribute composition from her and two regular collaborators where she strongly evokes Monk.  thelonious was known to get up and dance around his band mates during performances, of course he couldn't do so while he played, but it's easy to imagine him dancing about this trio while they summoned his and dolphy's spirits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5vDIOV4MY8&spfreload=10
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« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2017, 01:29:00 AM »

I'd just like to share this recording by Art Tatum. It's insane!

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