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Jazz Piano Masters - The Second Jazz Ramble Live At the New School

Claude Hopkins, Dill Jones, Eubie Blake & Teddy Wilson

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Album Review

The excerpts from this concert at the New School were a happy accident; the four pianists were hired to give engineering students a chance to practice recording live performances. Long out of print, this CD reissue adds MC John Hammond's insightful (if poorly recorded) introductions and a number of bonus tracks. Teddy Wilson's opening set is marvelous, though the producers overlooked that his performance of "Body and Soul" is actually a medley which also includes "Moonglow." Claude Hopkins, who was not well-known as a solo pianist, nearly steals the show with his romps through "Indiana" and "Three Little Words." Dill Jones, a Welsh pianist who was likely the least well-known musician heard during the concert, delivers an impressive take of "Just Squeeze Me" and a show stopping rendition of "Little Rock Getaway." But then 89 years old, Eubie Blake takes top solo honors with his enthusiastic set, which now includes his first work "Charleston Rag" (composed in 1899 at age 16!) and his most popular composition "Memories of You," in addition to a lively take of Cole Porter's "You Do Something to Me" and the still-mislabeled "Troublesome Ivories" (caused by Blake's apparent memory lapse during the concert, as he introduces it before and after its performance as "Tricky Fingers"). This is an essential acquisition for fans of solo jazz piano.

Biography

Born: August 24, 1903 in Alexandria, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

A talented stride pianist, Claude Hopkins never became as famous as he deserved. He was a bandleader early on, and toured Europe in the mid-'20s as the musical director for Josephine Baker. Hopkins returned to the U.S. in 1926, led his own groups, and in 1930 took over Charlie Skeete's band. Between 1932-1935, he recorded steadily with his big band (all of the music has been reissued on three Classics CDs), which featured Jimmy Mundy arrangements and such fine soloists as trumpeter/vocalist Ovie...
Full Bio
Jazz Piano Masters - The Second Jazz Ramble Live At the New School, Claude Hopkins
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