Handful of Keys

Handful of Keys : Conversations with Thirty Jazz Pianists

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Jazz pianists occupy a unique place in the story of jazz, and in this collection, Alyn Shipton draws together conversations with many of the key practitioners. Spanning the period from the birth of bebop to the present, their collective experience is a major part of jazz piano history. Sir Charles Thompson and Gerald Wiggins recall the days of Harlem clubs when bebop was being forged there. Their personal memories of bebop giants such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie bring the era vividly to life as do the 52nd Street experiences of Dr. Billy Taylor. Horace Silver and Junior Mance were both part of the hard bop and soul jazz revolution, recalling such colleagues as Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderley and Lou Donaldson, while Dave Brubeck was more identified with the cooler West Coast School. British-born Marian McPartland has become synonymous with piano jazz in the United States through her long, running radio show, but here she tells her own story.
As she was establishing herself in the United States, Mal Waldron was Billie Holiday's accompanist, and in one of the last interviews he gave before his death, he reflects on his time with Lady Day was well as his subsequent move to Europe, before looking back on his hectic early career as house pianist for Prestige records. There are memories of Art Blakey from JoAnne Brackeen, tales of Coltrane from Tommy Flanagan, and many memories from Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Meanwhile more recent trends are reflected by Diana Krall, Uri Caine and iconoclastic bandleader Carla Bley.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 156 x 234mm | 505g
  • Equinox Publishing Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 30 b&w photos
  • 184553137X
  • 9781845531379

Table of contents

Introduction and Acknowledgements* Carla Bley * JoAnne Brackeen * Dave Brubeck * Uri Caine * Alice Coltrane *Chick Corea * Sylvie Corvoisier * Tommy Flanagan * Michael Garrick * Benny Green * Herbie Hancock * Andrew Hill * Abdullah Ibrahim * Keith Jarrett * Brian Kellock * Diana Krall * John Lewis * Jacques Loussier *Junior Mance * Marian McPartland * Oscar Peterson * Michel Petrucciani * Horace Silver * Esbjorn Svensson * Billy Taylor * John Taylor * Butch Thompson * Sir Charles Thompson * Mal Waldron * Gerald Wiggins * List of Suggested Recordings
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Review quote

'Expertly put together with the skill, care, application and fund of knowledge we associate with his name. I can firmly recommend this volume as not only a most valuable work of reference, but also a darn good read.' Pat Hawes, Jazz Journal 'Shipton's interviews have special value for the insights they provide into the motivations of more contemporary players like Uri Caine and Esbjorn Svensson, or the always radical Herbie Hancock. Andrew Hill talks of his desire that people should enter into the music and 'share the experience.' This book should certainly more than help with that objective.' Peter Vacher, Jazz UK 'As well as demonstrating Shipton's catholicity of taste, the great benefit of having this material collected together lies in showing the common ground between practitioners of an unforgiving instrument.' Brian Priestley, Jazzwise
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About Alyn Shipton

Alyn Shipton presents jazz programmes for BBC Radio and is a jazz critic for The Times in London. His interviews with pianists have appeared in several publications including Jazzwise, The Guardian, The Times and Piano Magazine.
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