Presentations: Piano Performances

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“Rags, Blues, and All That Jazz!”: Piano Performances of American Vernacular Music

A virtuoso piano recital exploring the roots of American music. “Rags, Blues, and All That Jazz!” has been performed to wide acclaim extensively throughout the US, and internationally in Britain, Europe and Australasia.  Length 45 mins-2 hours.

“Rags, Blues, and All That Jazz!” is flexible in terms of presentation, drawing on Dr. Muir’s empathy with audiences of many types, from schoolchildren to graduate level music students and from an extensive repertoire. Each item is introduced and its historical background given which adds an extra dimension to the performance.  Select items are enlivened with charming vocals.

In terms of content, each program can be individually negotiated to reflect the needs of the occasion.  For a jazz festival, for instance, content can be tailored to reflect a broad jazz content; similarly for ragtime or blues events.  In all cases, Dr. Muir draws from his large and exceptionally interesting repertoire, ranging from his individual take on well-known traditional items such as folk blues, to long-forgotten works, the result of his extensive researches into the music of the era.  Repertoire includes: instrumentals by Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James Scott, and Fats Waller; popular songs by major songwriters such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, along with lesser known ones such as Isham Jones and Walter Donaldson; and a wide selection of gospel, blues and proto-blues material.

Sample Repertoire:

Ragtime and Cakewalks
At a Georgia Campmeeting—Kerry Mills
Smokey Mokes—Abe Holzmann
Pineapple Rag – Scott Joplin
Peaceful Henry – E. Harry Kelly
Maple Leaf Rag—Scott Joplin
The Entertainer—Scott Joplin
Elite Syncopations—Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin’s New Rag—Scott Joplin
Grace and Beauty—James Scott
Russian Rag—George L. Cobb
Ragtime Nightingale—Joseph Lamb
Pastime Rags—Artie Matthews
Kitten on the Keys—Zez Confrey

Early Blues and Proto-Blues
You Needn’t Come Home—Cannon
I’m Alabama Bound–Traditional
Fare Thee, Honey, Fare Thee Well–Traditional
How Long Blues – Traditional
Buddy Bolden Blues—Traditional
Pinetop’s Boogie-Woogie – Pinetop Smith
Mamie’s Blues—Mamie Desdoumes
See See Rider—Traditional
Joe Turner Blues—W.C. Handy
Jackass Blues—Sitzel/Kassel

Early Jazz Piano and Stride
Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Waller/Razaf
My Fate is in Your Hands—Waller/Razaf
Handful of Keys – Fats Waller
Old Folks Shuffle—Williams/Waller
Alligator Crawl—Fats Waller
The Pearls – Jelly Roll Morton
Grandpa’s Spells—Jelly Roll Morton
Jingles—James P. Johnson
Old Fashioned Love—James P. Johnson
Spring Fever—Rube Bloom
Tiger Rag—Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Bow to Your Papa—Jimmy Blythe

Early Jazz Songs
Flat-Tire Papa, Mama’s Gonna Give You Air—Fats Waller
You Got to See Papa Every Night—Conrad
Hard Hearted Hannah—Ager/Yellen
It Had to be You –Jones/Kahn
Tea for Two—Youmans/Caesar
Riverboat Shuffle—Carmichael
Hong Kong Blues—Carmichael
Someone to Watch Over Me—Gershwin/Gershwin
Nice Work if You Can Get it—Gershwin/Gershwin
I Got Rhythm—Gershwin/Gershwin
Everything is Hotsy-Totsy Now—McHugh/Fields

Bye and Bye—Traditional
His Eye is On the Sparrow—Traditional
Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot—Traditional
Just a Closer Walk with Thee—Traditional
This Little Light of Mine–Traditional

Press on “Rags, Blues and All That Jazz!”

“Peter Muir’s nimble piano playing is terrific.”
– Aileen Jacobson, Newsday

“Potent pianist Peter Muir, whose virtuosity does so much to transport the audience to another time.”
– Lawrence van Gelder, New York Times

“I dare anyone listening to turn-of-the-century ragtime music not to break into a wide grin and involuntary toe-tapping as delivered by Peter Muir.”
– Jeanne Lieberman, New York Journal

“Outstanding playing…Profoundly musical pianism”
–Stephen Jarvis, City Limits (London)

“A thrilling experience…The pianist showed not only a wonderful command of the instrument’s power and rhythmic potential, but a delicate touch of the keyboard.”
–J. Warren Cahill, Mid Hudson Times

“Muir’s keyboard technique was impeccable, forceful yet delicate, clear and precise, yet warm and personal.”
–James F. Cotter, Times Herald Record