Friday, November 02, 2018

FRIDAY MUSIC: Key Player - Keith Emerson, by JD

This year has been Leonard Bernstein's 100th 'birthday' and the BBC devoted a few programmes to his life and work. The old black and white TV interviews from fifty years ago were interesting and informative. Bernstein was asked in one of the old interviews if he liked any of the then current popular music. He replied that The Nice were very good.

Interesting choice because they recorded and issued in 1968 an instrumental version of Bernstein's 'America' from 'West Side Story' It was their most successful single. Several radio stations in the US refused to play it and most commentators 'knew' that Bernstein 'hated' it. But Bernstein denied that he had ever said that and his approval for the group would seem to confirm it.

Bernstein was a very talented composer and musician as well a lecturer on music. I believe his choice of The Nice was because he recognised the prodigious talent of Keith Emerson who played piano, organ and one of the earliest Moog synthesizers in the group.

So this post is a collection of Emerson's recordings in all of its many forms from jazz to classical. I have added also his eleven year old grandson playing piano in Birmingham Symphony Hall with a 60 piece orchestra demonstrating that such spectacular talent runs in the family.

There is also another Emerson composition played by Rachel Flowers; new to me but she sounds even more talented than anyone else in these videos and that includes Emerson himself or Oscar Peterson! There will definitely be more from her in the coming weeks.

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