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Friday, July 18, 2014

Stephanie Trick & Paolo Alderighi with the New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Caedmon Hall, Gateshead. July 17

(Review by Russell).
Dave Kerr, mastermind of the unique New Century Ragtime Orchestra, pulled off a coup in bringing to Tyneside not one but two virtuoso pianists. On a sultry summer’s evening his efforts were rewarded with the Caedmon Hall being full to capacity. 
A four hands piano jazz fiesta formed the centre piece of the programme. Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi played two, three and four-handed piano (at times it seemed that six, seven or eight hands were on the keyboard such was the dazzling playing). Trick from St Louis, Missouri and Alderighi from Milan, Italy, first met in Switzerland at a gathering of some of the finest exponents of classic jazz piano styles and some six years on are touring the world with their ragtime, stride and swing era show. To one side of the piano a tripod-mounted camera focused on the keyboard projecting real-time moving images to a screen above the stage. This proved to be an excellent idea allowing all in the hall to see the two pianists’ hands working in tandem, often at bewildering speed.
Temptation Rag, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, A Handful of Keys, all mesmerising. How did they do it? There it was, in front of our eyes, but, how did they do it? Amazing, plain and simple. Scott Joplin, James P Johnson to Erroll Garner. Alderighi in particular has an affinity with the swing era greats – Garner, Hines et al. Alderighi’s casual conversational style with the audience belied a cast-iron technique, exemplified by a solo take on Tiger Rag. The duo (a husband and wife pairing) played all eighty eight keys several thousand, no make that several million times, during the evening, frequently swopping seats, sitting to the left, then the right, standing, crossing hands, all done flawlessly. There was more…
Gershwin’s Liza, St Louis Blues (but of course!) and Exactly Like You.
One shouldn’t forget the band! The New Century were, variously, in the bar, in the bar and in the bar. To be fair, some did sit in the hall, enthralled. The orchestra opened and closed the show. The vocalists sang – Caroline Irwin, Steve Andrews and Jim McBriarty. Brass and reeds did their thing – trumpeters Graham Hardy and Alastair Lord on top form, Phil Rutherford too, the redoubtable Mr Don Fairley, stars all. Steve Doyle did a great job alongside the rhythm king Keith Stephen. Special mention of Neville Hartley – band pianist, no mean player in his own right, for once happy to play second fiddle and second trombone. Mention too of Alan Marshall, admirably depping in the reeds section.
The concert drew to a close with a rousing Limehouse Blues – orchestra, Trick and Alderighi. A memorable occasion.
Russell.
Stephanie Trick (piano), Paolo Alderighi (piano)
New Century Ragtime Orchestra: Neville Hartley (piano & trombone), Steve Andrews (tenor saxophone, clarinet & vocals), Jim McBriarty (alto saxophone, clarinet & vocals), Alan Marshall (tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet), Graham Hardy (trumpet), Alastair Lord (trumpet), Don Fairley (trombone), Keith Stephen (guitar & banjo), Phil Rutherford (sousaphone), Steve Doyle (drums) & Caroline Irwin (vocals)

2 comments :

Patti Durham said...

Yes, a great night music - top class piano playing from the two guests, plus ragtime, novelty dance numbers and swinging jazz from the band. Graham Hardy was outstanding as always, and Phil Rutherford keeps the rhythm steady and tight with that velvet toned sousa. Dave Kerr will be in need of a long holiday after all his hard work!

Unknown said...

A wonderful evening of Jazz. Two pianists performing what was almost impossible and of course the magnificent New Century Ragtime Orchestra. All courtesy of David Kerr.

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