COMPOSERS: Cowell,Ellington,etc,Fats Waller,Gershwin,Gottschalk,Jelly Roll Morton,Nancarrow,Scott Joplin
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Fascinatin’ Rhythm
WORKS: Works by Gershwin, Fats Waller, Ellington, Gottschalk, Cowell, Nancarrow, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin,
PERFORMER: Alan Feinberg (piano), Daniel Druckman (marimba)
CATALOGUE NO: 444 457-2 DDD
What a great idea! ‘Fascinatin’ Rhythm’ is a kind of ‘America answers back’. In the early part of the 20th century, America was teeming with virtuosi composer-pianists, particularly in popular music and especially among black pianists, who were willing and able to counter any notion that virtuoso piano playing was a European phenomenon.
Alan Feinberg has had the inspiring notion of bringing together on one disc examples of this vibrant scene juxtaposing Gershwin with other jazz greats and composers as wide-ranging as Gottschalk, Nancarrow and Grainger. It’s a heady mix of 23 tracks, with a generous disc duration.
Feinberg has the chops for this exhilarating toe-tapping, finger-snapping music, but I did wonder whether some of his readings weren’t a little bit ‘straight’. Occasionally I yearned for a little more smoke and a little more sleaze for instance in Bud Powell’s ‘Dusk in Sandi’ and Fats Waller’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ – this music is all about nuance and suggestion. But Feinberg’s finger dexterity is completely breathtaking. A bright, hard-edged sound balance gives more of a ‘serious’ than ‘popular’ ambience.