May 21 in Music History

today

• 1633 ~ Joseph de La Barre, Composer

• 1671 ~ Azzolino Bernardino Della Ciaia, Composer

• 1680 ~ Frederich Karl Erbach, Composer

• 1720 ~ Antonio Corbisiero, Composer

• 1722 ~ Wilhelm Gottfried Enderle, Composer

• 1841 ~ Joseph Parry, Composer

• 1867 ~ Marie Joseph Leon Desire Paque, Composer

• 1888 ~ May Aufderheide, Ragtime composer

• 1892 ~ The opera “I Pagliacci,” by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, was performed for the first time in Milan, Italy.

• 1895 ~ Franz von Suppe, Austrian composer of light operas, notably “Poet and Peasant,” died.
More information about von Suppe

• 1898 ~ Karel Haba, Composer

• 1901 ~ Horace Heidt, Bandleader: Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights

• 1904 ~ “Fats” Waller, American jazz pianist, organist, singer, bandleader and composer
Listen to Waller’s music
More information about Waller

• 1905 ~ Edward Lockspeiser, Composer

• 1917 ~ Dennis Day (Eugene Denis McNulty), Singer

• 1924 ~ Robert Parris, Composer

• 1926 ~ Joseph Horovitz, Composer

• 1929 ~ Charles Wadsworth, Pianist

• 1930 ~ Tommy Bryant, Jazz/studio musician: bassist

• 1932 ~ Robert Sherlaw Johnson, Composer

• 1933 ~ Maurice André, French trumpeter

• 1935 ~ Terry Lightfoot, Clarinetist, bandleader with the New Orleans Jazzmen

• 1939 ~ Heinz Holliger, Swiss oboist, composer and conductor

• 1940 ~ Will Bradley and his orchestra recorded one of the best of the Big Band era. Ray McKinley played drums and did the vocal for the boogie-woogie tune, Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar. The song, on Columbia Records, was so long it took up both sides of the 78 rpm record.

• 1941 ~ Ronald Isley, Singer with The Isley Brothers

• 1944 ~ Marcie Blane, Singer

• 1948 ~ Leo (Gerard) Sayer, Pop-singer and songwriter. Some of his hits were YouMake Me Feel like Dancing and When I Need You

• 1959 ~ Gypsy opened. Ethel Merman played the lead role in the musical which opened at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. The popular show ran for 702 performances. It was based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous burlesque queen.

• 1973 ~ Vaughn Monroe passed away

• 1973 ~ The sensual Pillow Talk, by Sylvia (Sylvia Vanderpool), earned a gold record.

• 1985 ~ Marvin Gaye’s last album was released. Dream of a Lifetime featured songs that critics considered too offensive, such as the controversial, pop version of The Lord’s Prayer. Three of the songs from the album were completed after Gaye’s death. Marvin Gaye was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines-Day

valentine-stomp

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an influential American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano.  He wrote the Valentine Stomp above in 1929.

MaryOOneRose

January 23 in Music History

today

. 1752 ~ Muzio Clementi, Italian pianist and composer
More information about Clementi

. 1837 ~ John Field died.  Field was an Irish pianist, composer, and teacher.

. 1878 ~ Rutland Boughton, English composer

. 1888 ~ Richard Strauss made his conducting debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

. 1893 ~ Phillips Brooks passed away.  Brooks was the lyricist of the Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

. 1908 ~ Edward Alexander MacDowell, US composer (Indian Suite), died at the age of 47

. 1920 ~ Ray Abrams, Jazz/be-bop tenor saxophonist

. 1925 ~ Marty Paich, Pianist, composer, arranger with/for: Peggy Lee, Shorty Rogers’ Giants, Dorothy Dandridge, Shelley Manne, Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, Dave Pell, Mel Torme, Ray Brown, Anita O’Day, Stan Kenton, Terry Gibbs, Ella Fitzgerald, and Buddy Rich

. 1928 ~ Ken Errair, Singer with The Four Freshmen

. 1933 ~ Chita Rivera (Conchita del Rivero), Singer, dancer, actress

. 1938 ~ Eugene Church, Singer

. 1941 ~ Artie Shaw and his orchestra recorded Moonglow on Victor Records. In the band were such sidemen as Johnny Guarnieri, Jack Jenney, Billy Butterfield and Ray Conniff on trombone.

. 1943 ~ Duke Ellington and the band played for a black-tie crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the first of what was to become an annual series of concerts featuring the Duke.

. 1948 ~ Anita Pointer, Singer with The Pointer Sisters

. 1950 ~ Bill Cunningham, Bass, piano with The Box Tops

. 1950 ~ Patrick Simmons, Singer, guitarist with The Doobie Brothers

. 1974 ~ Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells opened the credits of the movie, “The Exorcist”, based on the book by William Peter Blatty. The song received a gold record this day.

. 1977 ~ Carole King’s landmark album, “Tapestry”, became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists.

. 1978 ~ Vic Ames killed in car crash

. 1981 ~ Samuel Barber, American composer (School for Scandal), died of cancer at the age of 70

. 2002 ~ Alfred Glasser, a former director of education for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, died of cancer. He was 70. Glasser held the education post for 30 years before his retirement in 1996. Since 1997, Glasser served as chairman of the board and commentator for Chicago’s concert opera company, da Corneto Opera. For the past decade, he served on the board of Alliance Francaise of Chicago, a French cultural group. Glasser also founded the Lyric Opera Lecture Corps, a community service project.

. 2003 ~ Nell Carter, actress-singer, died at the age of 54. She was best known for her role as the housekeeper in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!”. Carter, who was born September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama, first rose to stardom on the New York stage. After a series of roles on- and off-Broadway — and a short-lived part in the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” — in 1977 she starred in the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’!”, a revue of the works of composer Fats Waller. She was rewarded for her performance with an Obie Award, and later with a Tony Award when the show moved to Broadway. Several years later, she earned an Emmy for her performance on a television presentation of the musical. Despite her Broadway success, Carter would have preferred to sing opera. “When I was growing up, it was not something you aspired to,” she said in 1988. “I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.” “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987. Carter was nominated for two Emmys for her role as housekeeper Nell Harper, who helped run the household of police chief Carl Kanisky, played by Dolph Sweet. She also garnered two Golden Globe nominations for the role.

. 2003 ~ For Sale: One of London’s most famous music venues, which in its heyday in the 1960s played host to The Who, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, is for sale, its administrators said. The Marquee Club, which in the 1970s was the epicenter of the punk explosion, ran into financial difficulties after its high-profile relaunch last fall, said a spokeswoman for administrator BDO Stoy Hayward. “We’re looking for someone in the music business who can capitalize on the Marquee brand and keep running it as a live venue,” she said. The price tag is at least $200 million. The club opened in London’s Soho district in 1958 and was so cramped and sweaty that, according to legend, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats blacked out on stage. In 1988, it moved to a new location in nearby Charing Cross, but within eight years it had closed down. A high-profile relaunch at a new venue in Islington, north London September 2002 was headlined by the controversial electro-rockers Primal Scream, but according to the club’s administrators, huge start-up costs quickly led to its downfall.

. 2017 ~ Bobby Freeman, American singer (Do You Want to Dance), died at the age of 76

December 29 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1876 ~ Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor
More information about Casals

• 1912 ~ Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Australian composer and music critic

• 1922 ~ Rose Lee Maphis, Entertainer, half of the team: Mr. and Mrs. Country Music with husband Joe, Hee Haw regular

• 1942 ~ Ray Thomas, Flute, saxophone, harmonica, singer with The Moody Blues

• 1943 ~ San Fernando Valley was recorded by Bing Crosby. He chose the tune because he felt it would be a big hit. He was right. Within a week after its release, the song became a popular favorite everywhere, including the San Fernando Valley in California.

• 1945 ~ Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN. The song was recorded on the Bullet label; but it was 13 years before Wooley would finally score with a big hit (The Purple People Eater was #1 for six weeks in June and July, 1958). Wooley (whose first name is Shelby) played the part of Pete Nolan on TV’s Rawhide, recorded novelty tunes under the name, Ben Colder, and acted in High Noon, Rocky Mountain, Giant and Hoosiers.The Country Music Association honored him with the title of Comedian of the Year in 1968. If you remember the TV show Hee Haw, with Buck Owens and Roy Clark, it was Sheb Wooley who wrote the theme song.

• 1951 ~ Yvonne Elliman, Actress, singer joined Eric Clapton in his 1974 comeback tour

• 1952 ~ Gelsey Kirkland, Dancer, ballerina, author of Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography, Shape of Love

• 1957 ~ Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married. They became popular singers on the The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, and as Las Vegas showroom regulars and recording artists. They are still together in one of Hollywood’s most enduring marriages.

• 1961 ~ Mark Day, Guitarist with Happy Mondays

• 1963 ~ Much to the chagrin of the disc jockeys at 50,000-watt WABC in New York, the 5,000-watt blowtorch known as WMCA and its famed ‘Good Guys’ became the first New York radio station to play The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand. It didn’t take long for WABC to get revenge. It started calling itself the ‘official’ Beatles station (W-A-Beatle-C).

• 1967 ~ Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman passed away at the age of 76. Known as the King of Jazz, Whiteman had 28 #1 hits between 1920 and 1934 including Three O’Clock in the Morning, My Blue Heaven, All of Me and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

• 1980 ~ American singer, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose. Hardin wrote the songs ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ (covered by Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash and June Carter, The Four Tops, Leon Russell, Small Faces, Robert Plant and Bob Seger,) and ‘Reason To Believe’, (covered by Rod Stewart). Hardin appeared at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

• 2001 ~ Cassia Eller, one of the most irreverent singers of Brazilian rock music, died at the age of 39. Eller’s fame peaked in 2001 with the sale of about 250,000 copies of her “MTV Unplugged” album and a performance in January’s Rock in Rio festival in front of hundreds of thousands of fans, singing along with one of her hits, I just ask God for a little indecency.

• 2001 ~ Jazz pianist Ralph Sutton, a leading practitioner of the stride piano, died at the age of 79. Born in St. Charles, Mo., in 1922, Sutton made his professional debut at age  11 with his father’s band. He later signed on with trombone great Jack Teagarden, and played at several clubs along New York’s famed 52nd Street. To create his eclectic style, Sutton drew from the jazz piano, from ragtime and the blues to stride, in the style made famous by James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Fats Waller. Critics hailed Sutton as one of the best contemporary jazz pianists with a mastery of his instrument. He was a founding member of the 1968 World’s Greatest Jazz Band, which performed at Elitch Gardens in Denver.

• 2003 ~ Manny Dworman, who owned a Greenwich Village nightspot where comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano and Jon Stewart performed, died. He was 73. Dworman, a musician who played the oud, guitar and mandolin, owned the Comedy Cellar and the Olive Tree Cafe upstairs. The club was previously the site of Cafe Feenjon, a Middle Eastern nightclub that originally opened as a coffeehouse in 1960. Dworman performed at Cafe Feenjon with his band, the Feenjon Group, which recorded five albums, performed at Carnegie Hall and inspired the radio show “Music From Around the World.” Comedy Cellar, which opened in 1980, also hosted performances by Chris Rock and Colin Quinn. Discussions at the club inspired the Comedy Central show “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.” Dworman was featured in the 2002 documentary “Comedian” by Jerry Seinfeld.

• 2004 ~ Jerry Orbach, American singer and actor for the musical theater and longtime star of the “Law & Order” television series, died at 69. Orbach, a lanky actor with a deep voice and a slicked mop of black hair, first made his name on Broadway, winning a Tony for “Promises, Promises.” He was also in the original cast of “Chicago” and “42nd Street.”

 

December 15 ~ This Day in Music History

hanukkah

Hanukkah
Hanukkah Music
Hanukkah Music Lyrics

 

Hanukkah 2017 began at sunset (4:48 at the O’Connor Music Studio) on Tuesday, December 12 and ends on Wednesday, December 20.

Christmas Music: The First Noel

• 1910 ~ John Hammond, American jazz critic

• 1922 ~ Alan Freed, American disc jockey

• 1939 ~ One of the most celebrated motion pictures of all time, Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was premiered in Atlanta to critical acclaim. The picture ran for close to four hours.

 

 

• 1941 ~ A musical standard was recorded this day on Victor Records. Lena Horne sang the torch classic that became her signature: Stormy Weather. “Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky. Stormy weather…”

 

• 1942 ~ Dave Clark, British rock drummer and singer

• 1943 ~ Fats (Thomas Wright) Waller died at the age of 39 from pneumonia.  He was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano

More information about Waller

 

 

• 1944 ~ Glenn Miller passed away when his plane disappeared over the English Channel. Major Glenn Miller was on his way to lead his Air Force Band in a Christmas concert.

• 1954 ~ Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter was featured on Walt Disney’s TV series for the first time. Crockett was played by Fess Parker. It wasn’t long before the Davy Crockett craze brought a new number one song to the pop music charts. “Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.”

• 1962 ~ The first record album to poke fun at a U.S. President became the #1 LP in the country. Vaughn Meader’s The First Family made the humorist a household word. The album stayed at #1 for three months.

• 1984 ~ Jan Peerce passed away

• 1986 ~ Violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the ribbon for the renovated Carnegie Hall in New York City.

• 1986 ~ Kenny Rogers cut himself a deal with the Dole Food Company. The singer became the highest-paid celebrity pitchman, ‘doling’ out nice words about pineapple and other Dole products for 17 million dollars.

• 2000 ~ Revered conjunto musician Valerio Longoria, who taught accordion to children in San Antonio for many years, died at the age of 76. Musicians and friends remembered the master accordionist as an innovator and influential stylist of conjunto music, a Texas-based rhythm fueled by the accordion and the bajo sexto, a 12-string Spanish bass guitar. As a teenager, Longoria played weddings and parties in Harlingen. In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and at the end of World War II was stationed in Germany, where he managed to get an accordion and play in nightclubs. In 1945, he moved to San Antonio, where he began recording for Corona Records. Longoria was among the first inductees into the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame in 1982, and in 1986 he received the National Heritage Award, the nation’s highest honor for folk artists.

• 2001 ~ Rufus Thomas, a musician whose Bear Cat helped Sun Records get its start and whose Funky Chicken gave a boost to the Stax Label, died at the age of 84. Rufus Thomas was best known for novelty dance recordings like Walking the Dog, Do the Funky Chicken and Push and Pull. He began tap dancing on the streets of Memphis for tips and performed in amateur shows in high school. In the 1940s, Thomas ran his own Beale Street amateur show that attracted B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland and many other performers who went on to become famous. In his declining years, Thomas took on the title of Beale Street ambassador and liked to refer to himself as the world’s oldest teen- ager. In 1953, Thomas recorded Bear Cat, an answer to Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog, and it became Sun Record’s first hit. That was before Elvis Presley arrived on the scene to become Sun’s undisputed star. Thomas complained in later years that Sun’s black artists were pushed aside after Presley’s success. In the 1960s, Thomas became one of the founding performers for Stax Records, which created what came to be known as “the Memphis sound,” with performers like Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.

• 2002 ~ John Crosby, founder and longtime former general director of the Santa Fe Opera, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a brief illness. He was 76. Crosby founded the Santa Fe Opera in 1957 and was its general director until his retirement at the end of the 2000 season. After his military service during World War II, Crosby majored in music theory at Yale and studied under composer Paul Hindemith, whom Crosby later brought to Santa Fe for the 1961 U.S. premiere of Hindemith’s opera News of the Day. Crosby also had worked as a Broadway arranger and studied at Columbia University in New York before making his move to found an opera company in Santa Fe. With $200,000 in financing from his father, Crosby purchased a ranch seven miles north of Santa Fe and oversaw construction of a 480-seat, open-air theater. The inaugural performance July 3, 1957, was Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. With the participation of Igor Stravinsky, early Santa Fe seasons gained world attention. Stravinsky brought music to the 1957 through 1963 seasons. His last night as both conductor and general director was Aug. 24, 2000, when he led Richard Strauss’ Elektra. Former President Bush presented Crosby a National Medal of Arts in 1991. He also received an Officer’s Cross of the Federal German Order of Merit in 1992 for his service to German music.

• 2002 ~ Rick Chase, a morning radio personality for KWIN-FM of Stockton, was found dead in his apartment. He was 45. Chase was best known for his work at KMEL-FM in San Francisco from 1986 to 1998. He also worked at KFRC-FM and KITS-FM in the Bay Area, KNVQ-FM in Reno and KZZO-FM in Sacramento. Chase, a 20-year radio veteran known to his listeners for his bombastic on-air personality, had worked at KWIN for two years.

• 2002 ~ Washington, DC Area: The storied history and sweeping skyline of US Airways Arena ended in a billowing cloud of dust Sunday morning as technicians reduced it to rubble with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. Almost 200 people, some of whom grew up watching sports and cultural events at the arena, gathered hundreds of yards away in the chill morning to say goodbye to the piece of 20th-century Washington’s history just outside the Capital Beltway. A shopping center will replace it. The arena began life in 1973 as the Capital Centre, a state-of-the-art architectural gem. In the ensuing decades, it housed the Washington Bullets basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team and held concerts by Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti. “I remember seeing the Washington Bullets when they were really good and the Caps when they were really bad, as well as Prince and Tina Turner,” said Stewart Small, who grew up near the arena and now lives in Alexandria, Va. “I know it’s not Ebbets Field, but it had a lot of memories for me.” Crews used about 400 pounds of dynamite at 500 locations to do the job. In just over 15 seconds, the stadium that took 15 months to build caved into a cloud of light brown dust. Some in the crowd cheered, but most were silent. A few were teary-eyed as dust soared above where the 18,000-seat arena had stood. The arena opened Dec. 2, 1973, to a sellout crowd that watched the Bullets beat the Seattle SuperSonics 98-96. It has had no regular clients since the NBA Bullets, now Wizards, and the NHL Capitals moved to the MCI Center downtown.

November 5 ~ This Day in Music History

today

.1895 ~ Walter Gieseking, German pianist

.1912 ~ Roy Rogers (Leonard Slye) ‘King of the Cowboys’, singer, married to Dale Evans

.1929 ~ McKinney’s Cotton Pickers picked and fiddled their way to the Victor studios to record Plain Dirt. Among those pickin’ and grinnin’ were luminaries such as Fats Waller (on piano), Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins.

.1931 ~ Ike Turner, American soul-rock singer, pianist and guitarist, duo with Ike and Tina Turner Revue, owner of a recording studio

.1936 ~ Billy Sherrill, Songwriter, musician: saxophone, record producer, VP/Executive Producer of CBS Nashville

.1941 ~ Art Garfunkel, American folk-rock singer, songwriter and actor, duo ~Simon and Garfunkel

OCMS 1942 ~ George M. Cohan passed away at the age of 64. Cohan was a legendary songwriter whose spirited and star~spangled tunes lit up Broadway and will be a part of Americana forever.
More information about Cohan

.1946 ~ Gram Parsons (Cecil Ingram Connor), Singer with The Byrds, songwriter

.1947 ~ Peter Noone (Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone), Guitarist, piano, singer, Herman of Herman’s Hermits, actor

.1955 ~ The Vienna State Opera House in Austria formally opened, celebrating the end of 17 years of foreign occupation.

.1959 ~ Bryan Adams, Singer, songwriter

.1963 ~ Andrea McArdle, Actress, singer in Annie

.1977 ~ Guy Lombardo passed away at the age of 75. He was a musical fixture for decades, especially on New Year’s Eve. Guy Lombardo, leader of the Royal Canadians, is fondly remembered for many songs he made famous but his most popular remains Auld Lang Syne.

.1986 ~ Dick Clark registered for an initial public stock offering for his TV production company (DCP). On the registration form, he called his product ‘mind candy’.

OCMS 1989 ~ Vladimir Horowitz passed away
Read more about Horowitz

.1989 ~ Barry Sadler passed away

.2000 ~ Frances Mercer, a leading model of the 1930s who went on to star in films, radio, television and on Broadway, died at the age of 85. Chosen as one of New York’s most beautiful models while still in her teens, Mercer made her film debut in 1938 playing Ginger Rogers’ rival for James Stewart’s affections in “Vivacious Lady.” In the next two years Mercer made eight more movies, including “The Mad Miss Manton” opposite Barbara Stanwyck. In theater work, she had costarring roles in the Broadway musicals “All the Things You Are” and “Something for the Boys.” Mercer also had her own New York-based radio show, “Sunday Night at Nine.” On TV, Mercer played a vituperative mother-in-law on the soap opera “For Better or Worse” and surgical nurse Ann Talbot in the 1955-1957 syndicated series, “Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal.”

.2000 ~ Jack O’Brian, a newspaper columnist and Associated Press critic who wrote about television and Broadway gossip, died at the age of 86. O’Brian chronicled soap opera plot twists and celebrities and the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. The cultural figures who met with his approval included Bert Lahr, Perry Como and Walter Cronkite. He took a job as a cub reporter with a Buffalo newspaper and established a reputation for cantankerousness when he skewered the local orchestra’s young accordionists. He joined the AP as its drama and movie critic in 1943. Later, he wrote about television and Broadway for a string of newspapers and a nationally syndicated column. He also hosted a WOR-AM radio show.

Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!