A Night in Dublin

A Night in Dublin

by Dick WellstoodDick Wellstood

CD

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Overview

The great stride pianist Dick Wellstood, who died in 1987, was best heard as a soloist in a live setting, which this CD is. This performance, taped during a 1977 appearance in a Dublin, Ireland, bar called the Merrion Inn, was discovered in 2000 by clarinetist Kenny Davern in the home of an Irish fan, who had recorded it with Wellstood's permission. Like the earlier Wellstood CD Live at the Sticky Wicket (which is also available on Arbors Jazz), this nightclub set preserves Wellstood's witty and sometimes sarcastic introductions to the songs. His foot tapping is frequently audible, adding an extra touch of rhythm and never distracting from the music. He first plays a series of rags, explaining to his audience how stride evolved from ragtime, including the well-known ("Maple Leaf Rag" and "Pork and Beans"), the forgotten (Joplin's "Fig Leaf Rag"), and novelty rags such as Zez Confrey's "Kitten on the Keys" and George Cobb's "Russian Rag" (which was derived from a Rachmaninoff work). Wellstood's chops are in top form throughout the cream of the stride compositions that he plays: "Carolina Shout," "Viper's Drag," "Handful of Keys," plus a medley of four more Fats Waller tunes. But he is at his most amazing when adapting non-jazz works into ragtime or stride. "Paganini's Thing" was adapted from a piece by the 19th century classical violinist Nicholo Paganini by Wellstood himself. As on his earlier Arbors Jazz CD, Wellstood plays his very amusing stride take of John Coltrane's landmark modal work "Giant Steps," a rapid-fire ragtime version of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You," and a rag version of the normally extremely lame Andrew Lloyd Webber hit "Superstar" ("made famous by such jazz artists as Bette Midler and the Carpenters", Wellstood deadpans). Of course, a medley of works from the Duke Ellington songbook is naturally suited for stride, since Ellington's own playing was firmly rooted in ragtime and stride; his up-tempo rendition of "Caravan" wraps this exciting medley. He signs off with a quick chorus of his original "Just the Blues." Even though this nightclub performance has the usual clinking glasses, occasional cash register noise, and talking from the audience, the sound is very pleasing and is worthy of comparison to many professionally recorded CDs and LPs in similar venues. This CD serves as an excellent introduction to the playing of Dick Wellstood and should be an essential acquisition for any fan of ragtime and/or stride piano.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/17/2001
Label: Arbors Records
UPC: 0780941124125
catalogNumber: 19241
Rank: 113866

Tracks

  1. Maple Leaf Rag (Introduction)
  2. Maple Leaf Rag
  3. Fig Leaf Rag
  4. Pork and Beans
  5. Kitten on the Keys
  6. Russian Rag
  7. Snowy Morning Blues
  8. Carolina Shout
  9. Fats Waller Medley: Keepin' Out Mischief Now/Ain't Misbehavin'/Hon ...
  10. Viper's Drag
  11. Sophisticated Lady
  12. Paganini's Thing
  13. Giant Steps
  14. Alice Blue Gown
  15. I Concentrate on You
  16. Superstar (Introduction)
  17. Superstar
  18. Ellington Suite (Introduction)
  19. Ellington Suite: Prelude to a Kiss/Sophisticated Lady/Perdidio/Caravan
  20. Just the Blues

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