Hello lovers of fine piano music!
Here is a Spotify playlist I put together for January 2015. It starts out kind of rambunctious, dips into the dark and moody, and ends with a sweet finish. Give it a listen and let me know what you think: January 2015.
Some tune descriptions:
1. Upright - Philip Aaberg: the whole album is very sweet, but this song, which opens the album, always, always makes me so happy I dance around the room. Try it.
2. Armando’s Rhumba - Chick Corea: I was lucky enough to see Chick Corea in concert some years ago and it was amazing, not just because he was wearing a mumu and playing a keytar. I love the playfulness of this little Latin dance tune and when I listen to it I wish it would go on forever.
3. Mandinga (Bilongo) - Ruben Gonzalez: Ruben Gonzalez is a tremendous Cuban pianist, featured on the breakout Buena Vista Social Club album. This tune is from his solo album that came out later.
4. Blackbird - Brad Mehldau: Brad Mehldau is a well-known contemporary jazz pianist. Can this Beatles tune get any prettier? You decide!
5. Hana (Spring) - the Christian Jacob Trio: More contemporary jazz piano. Every time I hear this I want to sit down and play it at the piano - it is simple somehow, but mysterious and beautiful and gentle - like spring?
6. Prehensile Dream - The Bad Plus. The Bad Plus are a ridiculously fun and brilliant jazz trio out of Minneapolis. Living in Madison I heard them perform twice and nearly passed out from happiness both times. Check out their cover versions of everything from the Pixies to Blondie. I do love this original composition, though - it winds around and winds around, on some never-ending quest that definitely has some mountainous passages - but oh the views!
7. Chopin’s Nocturne No. 19 in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1, played by Maurizio Pollini: I first heard this nocturne when it appeared in a movie version of The Secret Garden and I begged my piano teacher to let me learn it (she let me). Published after Chopin’s death, it is haunting and beautiful.
8. Satie’s, Gymnopédie No. 1, played by Frank Glazer: Frank Glazer was a wonderful classical pianist living in Maine who passed away just this month, just weeks shy of his 100th birthday. I heard him perform at a small concert on Peak’s Island this summer and he was wonderful. Here he is playing one of Erik Satie’s beloved Gymnopédies. What is a “gymnopédie,” you ask? It’s a name Satie made up! You can do that when you’re an eccentric French composer.