148

HenryThins Francis: Some Stride Piano Playing

By

Sign in to view read count
P>Stride piano was once the rage with such giants as James P. Johnson, Willie "the Lion" Smith, Duke Ellington and reaching its zenith in the hands of Fats Waller. Perhaps the best known proponents of this style among the current crop of pianists are Ralph Sutton and Judy Carmichael. Now comes Henry thins Francis with a CD combining two previously issued LPs and unreleased material. Francis is the leader of The Swing Legacy, a six-piece band working out of the New England area.

The left hand bass playing is essential to the structure, harmony and rhythm of this jazz piano genre. As Francis says in the liner notes, playing stride "dictates that both hands earn a living". Like ragtime upon which it was based, stride lost its prominence but not before influencing such greats as Art Tatum. The play list discloses Francis' affinity for Waller, and why not, with about a third of the program comprised of items from that bigger than life entertainer (with Ellington's works not far behind). In addition to familiar Waller, there are a couple of his lesser known pieces like "Up Jumped You" with "Lounging at the Waldorf". Francis does one of the gems of stride piano, "Jitterbug Waltz", more quietly than one normally hears it, allowing the listener to get a greater appreciation for the melody. To his credit, Francis understands that over an hour's worth of stride can become a bit wearing unless you're Waller. So the program includes some lush rendering of romantic ballads like "Prelude to a Kiss" and "Azure" both by Ellington.

This CD is a welcome addition to current stride piano literature. It is available through the net from amazon.com and directly from Mephistopheles Records.

Track Listing: Serenade for a Wealthy Widow; I Ain't Got Nobody; Prelude to a Kiss; Stompy Jones; Willow Tree; Up Jumped You with Love; Jitterbug Waltz; Wild Cat Blues; The Mooche; Lounging at the Waldorf; Zonky; Azure; I'm Putting all My Eggs in One Basket; Harlem Blues; You Took Advantage of Me; Concerto for Cootie; The Pearls; Black and Tan Fantasy; Love Me Or Leave Me; Handful of Keys

Personnel: Henry Thins Francis - Piano

| Record Label: Mephistopheles | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Tuesday Prayers" CD/LP/Track Review Tuesday Prayers
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Il sistema periodico" CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Shipwreck 4" CD/LP/Track Review Shipwreck 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Pineapples and Ashtrays" CD/LP/Track Review Pineapples and Ashtrays
by James Nadal
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!