A site for dancers, musicians and entertainment professionals to get their music.
A site for dancers, musicians and entertainment professionals to get their music.
1. Let the Good Times Roll (Theard) (2.56)
This Ray Charles's classic 1959 cover of the Louis Jordan hit song features first on the album and opens up Neil's live stage show as a walk on piece. The song was written by Sam Theard, a New Orleans born singer songwriter, and composed in 1942. It reached the high slot of Number 2 in the US billboard chart in 1947 as the B side of the single "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens". Ray Charles featured this song on his 1959 Album "The Genius of Ray Charles".
2. Kid From Red Bank (Neal Hefti) (3.00)
No break into the second track, the Neal Hefti creation, with his own signature arranging style for the man himself "Count" Basie. Levelled at him that he only played slowly, he put that myth to bed with this blisteringly fast opus featuring stride piano solos motoring along at a mere 250 BPM. This track featured on the album "Atomic Basie" which sealed Basie's superstar status for the rest of his life. All the tracks on this album were written and arranged by Neal Hefti who gave Basie the band sound that has become so famously associated with him.
3. Greig's A Minor Piano Concerto (Excerpt) into Billy Joel's Piano Man (4.15)
Track three in the show (Album) is a medley brought to us by two piano legends, Evard Grieg (1843-1907) and Billy Joel (1947-) the piano man himself. The arrangement starts with the iconic intro to Grieg's A minor piano concerto, his only fully finished concerto for piano, composed in in 1868. This leads seamlessly into Billy Joel's 1973 hit song "Piano Man" from the same album. Script intro this track is Neil's reference to growing up listening to Christmas specials especially the Morecambe and Wise show featuring yet another piano legend Andre Previn, or "Andre Preview" as he is called in the 1971 Christmas special of the Morecambe and Wise Show.
4.Five Foot 2 (First Job) (4.00)
This is a stride piano version of the the Ray Henderson 1925 hit song. The song is played and sung by Neil in the show as a through back to his first job as a dancing class pianist where instead of being the traditional paper boy he spent Saturday's learning the art of a solo stride pianist and dance accompanist playing for ballet exams and composing music for dance classes. This was back in the day when dancing schools competing in festivals carried two or three pianists and all of the music was performed live!!
5. George Gershwin Medley (Gershwin) (8.55)
The concept for this medley came about way back in 2008 and had t's first outing in Southern Califorinia in 2009 as part of a charity fundraiser. The medley features the piano legend George Gershwin and contains excerpts from five of his hits including the main title theme from the 1924 composition Rhapsody in Blue. Originally commisioned for the Paul Whiteman orchestra in 1924, this work has become synonomous with the genius of George Gershwin. After the opening Rhapsody fanfare, which originally when performed in California had the original Clarinet opening in front of it, the piece settles into a male vocal version of "Man I Love", a song featuring in the 1924 score of Lady be Good. An instrumental version of this was recorded by Ray Charles, but here Neil edits the lyrics to actually sing a male version of the song. This moves into a Royal Yacht (Britannia) story that Neil tells of his meeting with Princess Margaret while playing in the Royal appartments onboard Britannia. She requested the next track, "Foggy Day". a song originally introduced by Fred Astaire for the 1937 movie, Damsel in Distress. A return to Rhapsody in Blue with the main title theme is next up before a fast swing version of "Nice Work if you can Get it" another track from the 1937 movie Damsel in Distress. The medley finishes with an upbeat swing version of "I Got Rhythm" This track inclues a break down to a stride piano solo as Neil revisits his dancing class roots. The piece finishes with a key change in to F major reiterating the Rhapsody in Blue opening piano fanfare.
6. Fantasie Impromptu/Rainbows (Chopin)
This track is a an instrumental version of the Chopin original piece Fantasia Impromptu in C# Minor. The piece was composed in 1834 with Chopin leaving explicite instructions that this and other uncompleted works should not be published. However it found it's way to print soon after his death in 1849. This beautiful piece, which is argued to be a tribute to the genious of Beethoven, is in three sections with the centre section being very romantic and slower, Largo. This section modulates into Db major and is the part of the piece that was was adapted to create the popular song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" The song adaption was published in 1917 and was credited to Harry Carrol, with lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, although the melody is quite clearly a Chopin adaptation. The album/show arrangement was originally scored for Piano and vocals in the 2017 version but Neil has adapted the Largo section for clarinet with orchestral accompaniment.
Neil's script link to this specific piece, and Chopin in general is very strong as he was taught by "a pupil of a pupil of Chopin" Neil first played this piece when he was 13 and used the same piece for his successful entry into the Royal Marines Band Service.
7. As Time Goes By (Hupfeld)
Neil plays this beautiful song mostly piano solo as in the 1942 movie Casablanca. This arrangement pays tribute to all the nameles and none famous Piano Legends, musicians, that play in sessions, bands and orchestra's and always have done. Sung in the movie by Dooley Wilson but recorded by (dubbed) by Jean Plummer, the on set studio pianist. The song was originally written in 1931, both words and music by Herman Hupfeld. The most famous wrongly quoted line from the film of course, "Play it again Sam", was never acually said!
8. Stranger on the Shore (Acker Bilk)
The audience are invited to dance for this next track as Neil tells the story of how his Clarinet came to be included in the show, and how he was not able to carry a piano "on the march" during his time in the Royal Marines, a question often asked! The track,written by Bilk and released in 1961, made number 1 in the US charts and number 2 in the UK.
9. Crocodile Rock (Elton John - Bernie Taupin)
British piano legend Elton John provides dancefloor material for the next track with this 1972 written Rock 'n' Roll classic. The audience are invited to join in with this one singing and dancing to this fabulous arrangement. The song reached the top slot in the US in 1973 giving Elton John his first stateside number 1.
10. Rock and Roll Piano Legends (Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer - Vincent Rose, Larry Stock - Albert Collins - Little Richard, Dorothy LaBostrie - John Marascalco)
The dancefloor really starts to jump with this medley of 1950's Rock 'n' Roll piano hit songs. The medley kicks off with "Great Balls of Fire" the 1957 UK number 1 hit that was recorded at the the famous Sun Records Studio in Memphis Tennessee by Jerry Lee Lewis. The tempo slows for the next track when we hear the "Fats" Domino classic track, "Blueberry Hill". First publish in 1940 and written by Vincent Rose and Larry Stock. The "Fats Domino version was by far the most popular being an international hit for him reaching number two on the Billboard Chart in 1956.
Neil now plays the Jerry Lee Lewis version of the Little Richard classic song "Lucille" which is a little slower than the original that came out in February 1957. The song sits well at this slower tempo giving the audience chance to get their breath back and also to clap and join in. This medley arrangement finishes by staying with Little Richrd and "Tuttu Frutti" Recorded in 1955, this song gave Little Richard his first major hit.
11. Could it Be Magic (Anderson, Manilow)
For the final piece Neil returns to yet another Chopin inspired composition, C# minor drops the semi-tone to C minor with the exquiste Prelude, Opus 28 no 20 which opens this piece. The Prelude was one of a collection of 28 short pieces orginally published in 1839, and as well as being played at the front of Could it be Magic, the chordal structure is used throughout. Neil's version of "Could it be Magic" draws heavily on the live Manilow show performed in Oslo, Norway in 2010. He particularly liked the end of the piece and how it actually resolved.
The song was written by, credited to, piano legend Barry Manilow and was released by him backed by studio musicians in 1973 and again in 1975 reaching the high slot of number 6 in the Billboard chart.
12. Come By Me (Harry Connick Jnr)
Neils Show, and the album finishes with his version of the Harry Connick Jnr track "Come by Me" featured on the 1999 album of the same name. In the live show this is where there are credits for the live band playing alonside Neil in the show.
Originally performed by Dooley Wilson in the 1942 film classic Casablanca. Played however by a gigging studio musician/pianist. An unsung piano legend Jean Vincent Plummer. Enjoy Neil's version of this Herman Hupfeld classic song.
Copyright © 2018 Theatre Dance Music - All Rights Reserved.
The Heart of Musical Creativity