Airs Thursday, March 6 at 8 p.m. When you survey the history of the piano in 20th century American music, there are several individuals, composers and standards, particularly within jazz and popular songs. Performing a recital that traverses these figures and movements, while ensuring that your renditions remain original, is quite a challenge. In the spring of 2013, pianist Marcus Roberts played a concert at our festival that surveyed a broad cross section of 20th century American music. While he's been featured in a variety of musical contexts at our festival over the past decade, Marcus played a 75-minute recital that included distinctive interpretations of works by Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington as well as some original works and gospel pieces. Tune in to hear highlights from this 2013 SMF concert by the inimitable Marcus Roberts.
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.