Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Kevin Bales's Beyond The Neighborhood: The Music Of Fred Rogers at Jazz Corner

Kevin Bales's Beyond The Neighborhood: The Music Of Fred Rogers at Jazz Corner
Martin McFie By

Sign in to view read count
Kevin Bales with Keri Johnsrud
The Jazz Corner
Hilton Head Island, SC
November 16-17, 2018

Fred Rogers was best known for his pre-school television series "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" which ran for over fifty years, but he was also a gifted musician, winner of a Grammy award, composer of hundreds of songs and some operettas for children too. His compositions spoke of heartfelt reassurance for children in a complicated world. Equally, Roger's music may sound like unusual jazz territory for one of the best pianists around, but Kevin Bales is a continual chameleon, always deep in research. He has invented productions from a centennial blues celebration to this children's music. The production title is a parody on Mister Roger's pioneering TV show, Bales called it "Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers." It was performed live at The Jazz Corner. It has also been released as an eleven song CD album under the same title.

Kevin Bales is a consummate pianist, throwing a hunched shoulder at the piano in the fast sections, he remains always the music professor, encouraging the musicians forward together as one. With quite small hands it should be difficult for him to play as hard and fast as he does but he easily constructs precise crescendi of great force and thrilling excitement.

Bales surrounds himself with the best of musicians. Marlon Patton just in from Paris, rolled along on drums firing shots for emphasis and starting "When the Day turns into Night" by building up three long mallet rolls on the crash cymbal. Billy Thornton worked hard on the bass, at times hand tapping out the rhythm on the case and playing some exceptional, energetic solo pieces. Barry Greene joined the original album musicians on 6-string guitar. He played in balanced volume with sensitive touches to compliment the singer and piano exhibiting a refined tonal quality.

Delightful Keri Johnsrud came in from Chicago to hit all her notes perfectly, wearing a period A-line floral dress to add authenticity to her musical character. She injected expressive pauses as she sang in a gentle, melodic voice with just the right level of fun and reassurance, picking up on sentiments which were implicit in the original music. She sang Rogers' songs "It's You I Like," "You are special" and another from the child's point of view "I Like to be Told" which ended in a hum and a fade. Johnsrud finished the performance with "Troll Talk," which sounded convincingly like an unknown European language but turned out to be a nonsense lyric, just for fun.

This was a strong jazz performance with undercurrents of innocence from another time, disarming honesty and kindness to young children. It was utterly charming.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Brian Wilson Presents The Christmas Album Live Live Reviews
Brian Wilson Presents The Christmas Album Live
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 16, 2018
Read Jazz Migration 2018 Live Reviews
Jazz Migration 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot Live Reviews
Bessie Smith Empress of the Blues Tribute at The Cabot
by Doug Hall
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290 Live Reviews
Joe Gransden's Big Band At Cafe 290
by Martin McFie
Published: December 9, 2018
Read U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin Live Reviews
U2 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 9, 2018
Read David Johansen at The Space at Westbury Live Reviews
David Johansen at The Space at Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop" Live Reviews Nik Bärtsch's Ronin At The Bop Stop
by Matt Hooke
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Billy F. Gibbons at the Paramount" Live Reviews Billy F. Gibbons at the Paramount
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Hong Kong International Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Hong Kong International Jazz Festival 2018
by Rob Garratt
Published: October 18, 2018
Read "Hot Sugar at Jazz Cafe Montparnasse" Live Reviews Hot Sugar at Jazz Cafe Montparnasse
by Martin McFie
Published: July 14, 2018