Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Dick Hyman

Mr. Hyman was born March 8, 1927 in New York City and today marks his 82nd birthday. Even though today is March 7 I would like to say a pre-happy birthday to Mr. Hyman right now just so that I won't forget.

Dick Hyman is a well knows jazz, ragtime and classical pianist. Wikipedia has more on the history of him. Out of my many favorite piano pieces by Hyman "Kitten on the Keys" (a novelty ragtime piece whihc is a very fun piece to listen!) and "The Finger Breaker" rank at the top for me of which I am practicing those two pieces right now (albeit too slowly). I've also put the two YouTube videos permanently over onto the right side column of my blog site.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grandad the Rag Player

Here's an older late-deafened gentleman who is nearly deaf plays Ragtime Cowboy Joe and sings it, too. Click on the link to visit the blogsite and listen to him play.
Grandad was quite the performer on the piano, and was always happy to sit down at the piano to ham it up with a little (very little) prodding. Actually the picture I have on the post My Hero's Hero is of my grandad at his piano (relocated to Little Rock). He was almost completely deaf at the time the photo was taken, so he couldn't hear himself playing, but he knew the notes, and was picking out 'Ragtime Cowboy Joe'. Needless to say, it was a really special moment, and I'm so glad I was there to capture it.
It is a special moment when capture moments like that.It was nice listening to him play. Although you may need to crank up your volume to hear him play.

Here's the original piano song piece if you want to play it.

Here's the song's lyrics though it's not exactly in the order he sings it but you get the idea of how it goes. .

He al-ways sings rag-gy mu-sic to the cat-tle
As he swings back and for-ward in the sad-dle
On a horse that is syn-co-pat-ed, gait-ed,
And there's such a fun-ny me-ter to the roar of his re-peat-er
How they run when hear that fel-low's gun
Because the West-ern folks all know
He's a high-fa-lut-ing, scoot-ing, shoot-ing
Son-of-a-gun from ar-iz-o-na Rag-time Cow Boy Joe.

Out in Ar-iz-o-na where the bad men are
And the on-ly friend to guide you is an Eve-'ning star
The rough-est, tough-est man by far is Rag-time Cow Boy Joe
Joe got his name from sing-ing to the cows and sheep
Ev'ry night they say he sings the herd to sleep
In a bass-o rich and deep croon-in' soft and low.

He dressed up ev'ry Sun-day in his Sun-day clothes
He beats it for the vil-lage where he al-ways goes
And ev'ry girl in town is Joe's 'cause he's a rag-time bear.
When he starts a-spieling on the dance hall floor
No one but a lun-a-tic would start a war
Wise men know his fo-rty four makes men dance for fair.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An update and slow down..

Still practicing though not as long as I want it to be on a daily basis (3 to 4 hours a day). Over the last 4 or 5 weeks my left hand, wrist and some in the forearm I am experiencing a bit of annoying pain after I play for an extended period (and that means like 20 minutes or so). My left hand/wrist area seems to get a bit inflamed where the tendons are getting rubbed from the repetitve action. So, I've adjusted my bench by getting rid of my cushion so I can sit a little lower that puts less awkward pressure on my left hand by changing the position some. Really, I just need to lay off for a 9 or 10 days straight and let it recuperate. But with the piano in the living room staring back at me I would just want to practice and have fun instead.

I got the Black and White Rag down to full memory and play it through without much problems. I'll tape it someday soon.

K.K. Ragtime is coming along as well as well as for a few other ragtime pieces. But with my constant injury to my left hand the practicing is slowing down and reducing my practicing hours. Kind of makes me a bit angry there. Oh well, until next time.