Airs Thursday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m. Highlights from an SMF original production called Piano Showdown, including solo performances and duets featuring Aaron Goldberg, Bob Seeley, Eddie Palmieri and Henry Butler.
Back in the 19-teens and 20s, piano players in clubs had to always be on top of their game in order to ensure that their playing could never be surpassed. The great stride piano player James P. Johnson used to go around New York and hear all of the other pianists play, and in case they played something he didn't, he would copy them and incorporate their work into his own style. The reason for this is so that no one could walk into his club and outplay him, and then take away his job. In the SMF production Piano Showdown, none of the players have to fear for their jobs, but all are driven by the spirit of friendly competition. Episode 1 of 2.