Airs Thursday, January 30 at 8 p.m. When new styles of American music began to emerge at the end of the 19th century, the primary instrument at the center of these creations was the piano. Virtuosos such as ragtime stylist Scott Joplin created works like the "Maple Leaf Rag" that would sell over a million copies of sheet music alone. The first two decades of the 20th century would see jazz and blues compositions crafted by Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy and Duke Ellington, and their results were the shape of American music to come.
Airs Thursday, January 23 at 8 p.m. The piano has been an integral part of the jazz idiom since its inception. Due to its combined melodic, harmonic and rhythmic possibilities, it has been the one instrument that allowed the greatest jazz players to use their creativity to address all of these elements of musical style simultaneously. This episode of SMF Live features the first half of Piano Showdown 2010, with New Orleans powerhouse Henry Butler, the encyclopedic Dick Hyman, the virtuosic Marcus Roberts and one of the most talented players of the younger generation, 25 year-old Gerald Clayton.
Airs Thursday, December 12 at 8:00 p.m. Born in New York City in 1904, Fats Waller played the organ and sang in the choir of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where his father was the minister. By the time he was a teenager, the lure of playing in the theatre and accompanying silent films transformed his passion for playing music. Over the next ten years he emerged as one of the finest stride pianists while developing his skills as an arranger and composer, making him one of the most popular performers of his era. In this episode, we listen to a 2010 SMF performance of Fats Waller's music by pianist/scholar Dick Hyman.