All Music Guide
Other Minds Records presents the definitive recording of Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano, originally released on LP by 1750 Arch Records, newly remastered in spectacular sound, representing the most faithful reproduction of what Nancarrow heard in his own studio. This is the only available recording utilizing Nancarrow’s original instruments: two 1927 Ampico player pianos, one with metal-covered felt hammers and the other with leather strips on the hammers. Nancarrow's Studies is a cycle of work unique in many respects, not the least being its seeming indivisibility from itself. As the primary text of the music is a hand-punched piano roll intended to be played on specific, Ampico model player pianos, it does not lead to a wide range of options in terms of interpretation. As such, with such narrow parameters, one might think that all compact disc representations of Nancarrow's player piano music are created equal, but they are not so. This particular recording stems from master tapes made in Mexico City for release on the 1750 Arch label in the 1970s and '80s, with Nancarrow's own specially retrofitted pianos, in Nancarrow's studio, and with the composer himself picking tempos and working with producer Charles Amirkhanian to achieve ideal results. These recordings were considered state of the art at the time and still sound great, and can certainly be considered definitive. While the differences might be slight, they are still significant, particularly in regard to tempo choices, which can either make or break this music, and breaking it isn't hard to do at all. Hearing them played back on Nancarrow's pianos also affords an additional layer of articulation missing from many reproductions; one of Nancarrow's pianos was fitted with metal hammers, resulting a clattery sense of attack, whereas the other had hammers covered with leather strips for a more mellow sound. Make no mistake about it: the Other Minds set truly represents what Nancarrow himself wanted you to hear when it came to his player piano music, and he did have very specific ideas about that.—Uncle Dave Lewis
Gershwin Plays Gershwin: The Piano Rolls is an album of piano rolls recorded (with one exception) by George Gershwin. It was released by Nonesuch Records in 1993. Gershwin recorded these piano rolls between 1916 and 1927. Several rolls use overdubbing, so that Gershwin is in effect playing a four-handed piece solo. The final selection, "An American In Paris", was recorded by Frank Milne in 1933. Milne worked as a roll-editor with Gershwin in the 1920s, and edited several of the rolls reproduced on this disc. So skilled was Milne as a roll editor, the liner notes suggest that he may not have actually "played" "An American In Paris" at all – in the same way that a musician can write sheet music…
Take a lesson with a true legend of American popular music! This DVD gives us a rare, up-close look into the style and technique of the man who co-wrote and played on all of Chuck Berry's biggest rock 'n' roll hits, including "Back in the USA;" "Memphis, Tennessee;" "Sweet Little Sixteen;" "Roll Over Beethoven;" "Rock & Roll Music;" and Berry's tribute to Johnnie, "Johnny B. Goode."
On the heels of his landmark recording "Last Man Standing", Jerry Lee Lewis speaks candidly about his 50-year recording career, and, for the first time, demonstrates the piano style that defined rock-n-roll. On "Killer Piano", Jerry discusses his youth and career, reminisces with his family, and demonstrates many of his favorite rock-and-roll and country songs. Plus, the DVD is hosted by Linda Gail Lewis and features a complete live concert with Jerry's band at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Also included is historic footage from Jerry's first appearance on the Steve Allen show, rare family photos, and printable sheet music transcriptions that pianists can use to study and learn Jerry's pivotal style.