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rhythm piano and piano rolls

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  • Andrew Barrett
    Alright, I promised a follow-up with more information. Thanks for the positive responses. As I define Rhythm Piano (I came up with the idea for the genre),
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2006
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      Alright,

      I promised a follow-up with more information. Thanks
      for the positive responses. As I define "Rhythm Piano"
      (I came up with the idea for the genre), the following
      performers would fit into this category, and listening
      to their solo piano output should make it evident to
      the listener as to what exactly this genre is, as I
      don't quite feel qualified to make a musicological
      analysis at the moment.

      Lil Hardin Armstrong
      Frank Banta (on occasion, though he's mostly novelty)
      James Blythe (great blues as well)
      J. Milton Delcamp (on occasion, a jack-of-all-styles)
      Clarence Johnson (ditto as for Blythe)
      Sid Reinherz
      J. Russel Robinson (though he was a ragtimer too)
      Cassino Simpson (at least earlier)
      Kline Tyndall
      Pete Wendling
      Clarence Williams
      early Mary Lou Williams (Nite Life, etc.)
      Garland Wilson (great stride, too)

      (several others, but I can't think of them at the
      moment)

      a recording with some great performances in the style
      is "Swingin' Piano" issued by Folkways and available
      as a custom CD/cassette from
      (http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.html)

      The recording which I made reference to in the earlier
      post is "Musee Mecanique Vol. 1" which contains many
      tunes played on the various automatic instruments in
      the collection. This collection of various antique
      coin-operated devices is now housed on Pier 45 in
      Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. It is an open
      display and the public is free to walk through and
      drop their money in, take pictures, etc.

      The recording is available here:
      (http://www.sfmuseum.com/treasure/detail.aspx?ID=220)

      The instrument in question is a later North Tonawanda
      model "L" coin piano with mandolin and a rank of
      violin pipes. It plays a regular "A" roll (NT also
      made an earlier L that played a special L roll; only
      one of these pianos exists). On the recording, the
      piano is a bit out of tune with the pipes (or is it
      the other way around?) but regardless, this is a small
      price to pay for such great music!

      The roll played by this instrument on this recording
      and mentioned in the previous post is Capitol #A-1972,
      which has been recut by Play-Rite (and probably
      others) in the past. I have even seen one of these
      recuts on Ebay a while ago.

      Since Capitol coin piano rolls were generally made
      from prior 88-note home player piano arrangements (put
      out by the Columbia Music Roll corp. under various
      brand names), it is often possible to find the
      full-scale version of each tune as well as the
      abbreviated version made to fit the shorter playing
      range of the coin pianos and orchestrions.

      using this list:
      (http://mmd.foxtail.com/MMMedia/CoCap/cocap.html)

      I was able to find the number of the 88-note version
      (presumably the same one, but with all the notes
      intact). It is Columbia roll #1364, made in 1919 and
      played by Clarence Johnson. I am not sure whether the
      88-note version has ever been recut but it ought to
      be! This arrangement is mind-blowing!

      The other two arrangements on the recording (and maybe
      not all on the same roll, which may have a different
      selection for the other 9 tunes) apparently also come
      from Columbia 88-note rolls. They are #1348 "Spanish
      Shawl" made in 1925 and played by James Blythe, and
      #1286 "Take 'Em To the Door" (blues) made in 1925 and
      played by Paul Jones.

      Those of you with player pianos ought to seek out the
      rolls, as they are really good; I myself own none of
      the ones mentioned above (or even recuts :( ) but I'm
      on the lookout!

      Also, if anyone has a roll or a scan of "Society
      Blues" by Jimmy Blythe, I would be interested in
      transcribing this!

      Andrew

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