Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Stride in Blue Moods, Sex, The Dream, and Jungle Drums

It's not a weird post title. They're the names of the three songs I'm posting today.

James P. Johnson was one of the originators of the stride style of piano, which was a bridge between ragtime and jazz. You can hear elements of each in these recordings. He influenced Count Basie, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk.

In Blue Moods, Sex (mp3), he foreshadows Monk by holding some notes for just a moment longer than you expect, and by creating harmony with dissonant keys. It's slinky, sly, and playful.

Jungle Drums (mp3) has no drums, but you hear them anyway. I don't just mean that you feel the rhythm; if you have any imagination at all, you hear the drums in there. Aggressive and forceful.

Dream (mp3) is a masterpiece of timing and finger acrobatics. You can't play this.

All solo piano mp3s from The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945, Piano Solos.

More .ram files to listen to here.


Arethusa said...

These are grrreeeat! I have a hard time picking a favourite...Jungle or Dream? I'll have to listen to them all again.

Thanks for posting these!

Canowine said...

I knew you would like these! I got your musical number now, Areth. I suspect Phoenix liked them, too.

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