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  • The Original James P. Johnson 1942-1945: Piano Solos
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The Original James P. Johnson 1942-1945: Piano Solos


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Audio CD, September 24, 1996
$18.33 $6.51
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Liza 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Aunt Hagar's Blues 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Sweet Lorraine 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Jersey Sweet 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Yamerkaw- A Negro Rhapsody11:59Album Only
listen  6. Daintiness Rag 2:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Dream 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Dream (Alternate) 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Blue Moods 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Keep Movin' 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Woman Blues 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Jazzamine Concerto 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. St. Louis Blues 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Jungle Drums 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Blue Moods, Sex 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Euphonic Sounds 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Twilight Rag 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Snowy Morning Blues 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Snowy Morning Blues (Alternate) 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Blues for Jimmy 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 1996)
  • Original Release Date: September 24, 1996
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B000001DM5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Seventy-four minutes of solo piano from the father of Harlem stride piano. Includes eight previously unreleased tracks, including Yamekraw and Jazzamine Concerto. 20 vibrant performances, including Joplin and Handy, a Gershwin hit, and Johnson's own compositions-1917 Classic rags, a 1923 show tune, newly discovered blues improvisations, and three of his pioneering "third stream" symphonic works. 28-page booklet contains wonderful reproductions of the original LP covers, historical and biographical annotation on the period, the artist, and the songs. Reissued from Folkways 2850. "It was me, or maybe Fats, who say down to warm up the piano. After that, James took over. Then you got real invention-magic, sheer magic." -Duke Ellington

Amazon.com

When James P. Johnson made these solo recordings for Moe Asch's Folkways label, Asch gave him the freedom to record what he wished. The pianist took the opportunity to document some pre-jazz piano music, a few favorite tunes, some improvised blues, and piano reductions of his own unperformed concert works. It's a remarkable release, including among the early piano music Jesse Pickett's "The Dream," Scott Joplin's "Euphonic Sounds," and two blues by W.C. Handy. While Johnson's ambitions to mount an indigenous concert music, one melding jazz and ragtime rhythms with classical forms, were frustrated, you'd never know it from these vibrant performances of "Yamekraw--A Negro Rhapsody," "Jazzamine Concerto," and a fragment from "Jungle Drums." The 1996 CD issue includes eight previously unissued tracks. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By B. D. Tutt on February 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
James P. Johnson is one of the most influential and neglected figues in 20th century American music. Best known as the teacher of Fats Waller, he was the composer of "Charleston", THE song that exemplified the 1920s, a writer of serious orchestral works, a magnificent accompanist of Bessie Smith and others, and the leading figure in the Harlem stride piano style. As such, he influenced Ellington, Basie and Thelonious Monk amongst others.
He recorded extensively, but for a long time little of his material was available on CD. Classics has now completed a reasonably comprehensive eight volume reissue, which is a must for Johnson fans. This CD, however, encapsulates most of Johnson's genius in one disc.
The recordings, made for Asch, cover most facets of Johnson's career. His ability as a stride virtuoso is demonstrated in "Liza" and "Twilight Rag", his ragtime roots in Scott Joplin's "Euphonic Sounds", and his empathy for the blues in a number of tracks, the best being "Snowy Morning Blues", given two markedly different performances and the poignant "Blue Moods Sex".
His neglected serious compositions are demonstrated with "Yamecraw", "Jungle Drums" and "Jazzamine Concerto", all well worth hearing in the only recording opportunity Johnson ever received to air them. (They have since been rediscovered and recorded by the Concordia Orchestra, and are well worth hearing. They compare favourably with the grossly over-rated Gershwin).
All in all, this is a splendid disc that does justice to Johnson's multi-faceted genius. While it is a little short of full-blooded stride piano (why was Asch's version of "Carolina Balmoral" not included?), no one with more than a passing interestin jazz piano should be without it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael F Heintz on July 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I found out about James P. Johnnson just recently and I'm a senior. Wow! This album has better sound than some others and a real long serious number which was later orchestrated. Johnson's playing is pure magic, as Duke Ellington says, and if you play piano yourself, you must hear his left hand! Never too much or too little, always supportive of the top line and always just right. Maybe I'm just in the first flush of enthusiasm about this guys stuff, but this makes me want a time machine. I'da like to ah bin there.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By jive rhapsodist on August 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Beautiful! And beautifully presented, annotated, remastered...everything. By the way, I' d also like to hear the Asch Carolina Balmoral, but as far as I know, it remains unissued (the Blue Note one is awesome!). Jazzamine Concerto (which reappears, in part, at the end of the CD as Blues For Jimmy) is as deep as Stride gets. Such a great composition, and so movingly (not perfectly) played. The CD will explain why Johnson was considered the Dean. Waller is a more note-perfect pianist, with a unique drive, Willie the Lion has his amazing impressionism, but Johnson is the master. The extended work Yamekraw is not a great piece of music - too episodic to be - but it too is so moving. Funky, romantic and loveable. As is the whole CD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Doug - Haydn Fan VINE VOICE on November 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This selection of the immortal James P. Johnson's playing was recorded during the first half of the forties for Moses Asch, founder of Folkways Records. Johnson runs through a host of numbers streching across a broad historical time frame. (And speaking of streching, on many of these numbers we can hear his supernatural ease at spanning vast keyboard spaces - surely Johnson had some of the largest hands of his generation of pianists!) The music dates from the dawn of Ragtime back in the days of the 1893 Columbia Exposition and Jesse Pickett's "The Dream", to Scott Joplin's "Euphonic Blues", handled with great assurance, a model of how to 'swing' a rag's synocopation without altering the music's own intrinsic beat. Two W.C. Handy selections are included, "St. Louis Blues" and a 1922 work, "Aunt Hagar's Blues", where Johnson gives effortless examples of a fulsome variety of pianistic demands. Gershwin's big 1929 hit from "Show Girl", "Liza", proves a knockout, a fabulous performance, fittingly the opening recording on this Cd - a thrilling freedom floats the music effortlessly along.

Johnson's own compositions make the majority of choices...Asch gallantly left Johnson to record pretty much whatever he wished, and we hear on this Cd examples taken from a wealth of material Johnson left, with the composer playing versions of twelve of his pieces, including piano versions of otherwise unrecorded larger concert works, "Yamekraw", the slow movement to his "Jazzamine Concerto", and a reduced "Jungle Drums".

The notes for this Cd reflect enormous care and fully cover the sourcing issues for the recordings chosen for inclusion.
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