The great Art Tatum once paid tribute to Fats by saying “I come out of Fats Waller – and that’s quite a big place!” Indeed, everything Waller did in his short life was on a grand scale. He played the grandest stride piano – massive left hand intervals, hugely intricate classical figures in the right. He was a tempestuous swinger with a beguilingly light touch. He had a larger-than-life personality and joshed his way through countless Tin Pan Alley ditties, invigorating them with his Musical Hokum. He made fortunes with delightful songs such as Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Keepin’ out of Mischief. He blew fortunes by living hard and helping out anyone short of a dime. He would eat 12 hamburgers at a go.
Afternoon Talk: £15
Nicholas Gill has been playing classic jazz piano professionally since 1992. His music encompasses the classical ragtime of Scott Joplin, the early jazz compositions of “Jelly Roll” Morton and the school of Harlem Stride Piano. He now performs regularly at National and International jazz festivals, while locally also providing music for private parties and community fund raising events. While being grounded in classic jazz piano, Nick has succeeded in developing his own individual musical style and sees himself as a creative musician working within a genre, but happy to test its boundaries and innovate new ideas. He composes songs and instrumental piano pieces.
Always keen to spread awareness of classic jazz, Nick has been involved in an education project at Chipping Norton School, from which a jazz band doing its own gigs has emerged. He gives talks to various groups both solo and with colleagues from “The Oxford Classic Jazz Band”. These have included in the last year WI branches as well as The West Oxford Community Centre. The talks aim to be both educational and highly entertaining, with plenty of live musical illustration and racy anecdotes about the colourful jazz geniuses of the past.
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