Saturday, July 16, 2005

The roots of Ferrante and Teicher, part 2

Well, I promised to find some more roots of Ferrante and Teicher, i.e. pre-1952 records by virtuoso, Classically-trained duo-pianists playing "pop" titles. A search at my favorite Columbus used record store, Colleen's Collectibles, turned up nothing, but only because I didn't know who I was looking for. (Colleen, having guided me to the piano section: "Who are you looking for?" Me: "I'm not sure.") Turns out I should have been seeking Whittemore and Lowe, as well as Morley and Gearhart, two piano-playing teams who helped pave the way for Art and Lou, even if they didn't stick foreign objects behind the strings or mess with the hammers.

These folks I will be looking for in the thrift bins. Or at Colleen's, when next I visit. This isn't exactly stuff that flies off the shelves, unless the poltergeists get bored.

There were, of course, more purely pop pianists who zipped up and down the keyboard in a quest to impress people. Some were very good--Carmen Cavallaro, for example. Others were not, such as Eddy Duchin. And Jan August, whom we are about to hear in an embarrassing rendition of Zez Confrey's Dizzy Fingers. Of all the Confrey pieces for an arpeggio-faker not to take on, Dizzy Fingers is probably the one. Whose idea was this?

But try to ignore August's flub-athon and listen, instead, to the multiple-echo effect, a gimmick which makes the track sound very much like early, prepared-piano Ferrante and Teicher: Dizzy Fingers, Jan August, 1951.

Missed notes aside, this is very "futuristic"-sounding lounge for 1951. Very F&T.



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