Ethan and I drove, in separate cars, to the Willow Grove Bible Church at 11 am. Sarah stayed home to finish the appetizers.
I introduced him to Bob and Kim Ruby, our church hosts. Bob would act as the sound man upstairs in the sanctuary.
These are the nicest people you'd ever want to meet!
Kim and Bob Ruby.
Behind them is Saul Miller, DDS. Saul, a devoted bike rider, had a terrible fall from his bike, including a concussion. Thanks to excellent treatment, he's back in the saddle again.
On Tuesday, the church had their Knabe Grand tuned, and they learned, for the first time that the piano was formerly owned by the Metropolitan Opera.
Just called and checked with Mom about this. Krakauer produced high-quality pianos from 1869 to 1985.
We had about 22 people for Ethan's solo concert. Suffering from jet lag from a grueling touring sked, he got a great nite's sleep here at my house.
Yesterday he drove out to New Jersey, Voorhees, he thinks, to interview the great bass player
Charles "Buster" Williams, photo from Wiki. Born in Camden in 1942, Buster told Ethan some great stories, esp how he got his first job at age 17 with Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons.
Sarah and I listened to part of the amazing recorded interview.
Spring rolls - Chocolate covered strawberries - Deviled eggs - Shrimp Cocktail - Beef in Lettuce Cups - and more
Sarah dreamt about "Granny" last nite. She was her late father's mother, who used to make great biscuits back in Texas. Pioneer Biscuit Mix. You should've tasted her chicken and dumplings.
Sarah bought a Jiffy mix to make her biscuits.
After we left the church, a crew of Xmas decorators were arriving. We left them some of our food. It's always better to make too much than too little.
Bought a couple bottles of Sparkling Wine, which I chilled outdoors in the snow.
Ong's Hat Band. They came all the way from Narberth, PA.
Next year, we've got to do a better job advertising since this was a spectacular solo performance, with food as good as you can find anywhere. I'm proud to say I helped Sarah by washing some of the dishes and sweeping the floor.
Ethan said that his audience in Gdansk, Poland drew about as many people as here at the church. See his photos, from his blog, about Gdansk. Many reminded me of the Jews being rounded up.
Ethan's comments about the music he played are always fascinating.
"Dutch" and "Tree" Forstater are on the left.
Sitting next to them is Tony Creamer. His wife Mary couldn't make it b/c the plumber was over. Wouldn't you know the water backed up on the most important day of the year when they had loads of company?
He performed the French Suites, so named b/c of the French format... Allamande (hello!).... a few other movements, concluding with the Gigue, also used by Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev.
Listen to this YouTube recording by Glenn Gould.
Ethan said that Bach always ends his pieces with the most brilliant song.
In fact, while Ethan was performing I thought to myself, he's not moaning out loud like Glenn Gould does.
I also thought, What could be better than live music?
Someone, I think it was "Dutch," asked who are the biggest fans of The Bad Plus? Dutch guessed the Japanese were.
"They're very demure as an audience," he said.
"Three voices are required for The Bad Plus." Piano, drums and bass.
At gigs in Eastern Europe, he said, the audience is passionate and soulful, reflecting the political climate.
Goodbye Berlin Wall in 1989.
Eventually, said Ethan, jazz performers are blessed by Ornette Coleman and make their way to his pad.
Ornette asked Ethan to play the most perfect piano piece he knew.
Ethan played it for us.
When Ethan was a young boy growing up in Menomonie, Wisconsin, one of the first tunes he learned was a boogie-woogie song by Mary Lou Williams. Perhaps it was this one.
While he played, I distinctly heard Go! Go! Go! Go!
Ethan was among many musicians who were honored to erect a tombstone for the great pianist James P Johnson, who was buried in a potter's grave.
They gave what's called a "Rent Party" b/c many musicians didn't have enough money to pay their rent. Read more about James P in Ethan's blog.
Ethan played Johnson's piece The Charleston, yes, the one about the dance, written in 1925, the Roaring Twenties. Listen to Ethan play it here.
This piece, said Ethan, transitioned into more modern jazz.
Pianist Bud Powell and
Thelonius Monk are the two greatest pianists of our time, said Ethan. Both had mental issues.
They could have used the help of Sharon Katz, owner of Collaborative Care, who was in the audience.
I couldn't believe that busy Sharon was there. We're profiling her in the next issue of The Compass. Thanks, Martha.
He played a couple tunes of each one, including Blues Misterioso by Monk.
Ever heard of Bill Hickman? He was a famous stunt driver who appeared in movies such as Bullett with Steve McQueen and The French Connection.
The question is, What did Hickman do when he was not living the exciting Hollywood life?
Ethan wrote a song about that.
He also played his original - "The 2.5 Room" - it's sort of an etude, he said.
That really had the audience going.
The first week of December we'll celebrate the Centennial of the birth of Irving Fine.
Fine died young, 48, of a heart attack.
Ethan played a Theme and Variations by Fine, in what is "the least likely encore in jazz history."
Listen to Music for Piano here.
Fine, he said, was post-Copland and Stravinsky.
The long goodbyes....
After the concert, Sarah and Ethan had to get back to NYC to return the borrowed car to Julie.
First, we stopped at mom's house to say hello and goodbye.
Hey, is this still Saturday?