Ruby is one of those few people who could solo with a pipe organ, who could improvise with such an unusual instrumental background. It requires a very special ability - flexibility, ingenuity, and invention. Ruby, of course, is his own man. Like his idol, Louis Armstrong, he commands the center of attention, even if the background is something as odd as a theatre organ. The tonal colors of a pipe organ are its great glory. Above all, I'm stimulated by being able to orchestrate on the spot. And once you launch into a bright swinging tempo with the instrument sounding perhaps a beat behind the fingers, the sensation is like leading a herd of galloping elephants. You don't dare look back.
Performed (as was Dick Hyman's previous Fats Waller project) on a Bosendorfer Reproducing Piano and actually recorded from the piano at a later date, this outing finds the great Hyman interpreting 14 of Duke Ellington's compositions. Most intriguing are Ellington's nearly atonal "The Clothed Woman" and "Tonk" in which Hyman somehow duplicates an Ellington-Billy Strayhorn piano duet! Other highlights include the joyous "Drop Me Off In Harlem," "Doin' the Voom Voom," "Echoes of Harlem" and "The Gal from Joe's." The recording is as rewarding as one would expect.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and special guests take you through 100 years of jazz piano on their new album, Handful of Keys. Star pianists Joey Alexander, Dick Hyman, Myra Melford, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson, and the JLCO’s own Dan Nimmer grab hold of all 88 keys and reveal the full extent of the piano’s evolution over the 20th century. This landmark live performance will be released on 9/15/17 by Blue Engine Records.