Many people know Keith Ingham as a wonderful accompanist to singers — never getting in the way, but always adding so much to their work. Others have found him a fine band pianist — going back to Stacy and boogie-woogie, forward to a swinging empathy. But the Ingham fewer people know about is the powerful Mainstream player — someone with strong lyrical tendencies, a poet of songs others don’t play. But there’s nothing fussy in Keith’s approach, and whether he is tracing a tender love ballad or building an improvisation from clearly-constructed rhythms and harmonies, he’s always in control without losing any essential grace.
Here are two brief recitals from the 2011 Jazz at Chautauqua party. The first finds Keith on his own, exploring songs and composers that some in the audience might have found surprising. But everything gleams under his fingers, beginning with this leisurely exploration of some songs by Dave Brubeck:
The compositions are IN YOUR OWN SWEET WAY, IT’S A RAGGY WALTZ, and TAKE FIVE. Like Dave McKenna, Keith often arranges songs whimsically by the themes implied in their titles — so here are HERE’S THAT RAINY DAY, A FOGGY DAY, and SOME OTHER SPRING (although the weather was perfectly pleasant at Chautauqua):
And Keith closed this recital with an Ellington / Strayhorn medley — of PASSION FLOWER, UPPER MANHATTAN MEDICAL GROUP, CHELSEA BRIDGE, and TAKE THE “A” TRAIN — energized, not formulaic:
The next day (Saturday, Sept. 17) Keith asked bassist Jon Burr and drummer Pete Siers to join him for a serious (but light-hearted) exploration of the songs of Arthur Schwartz, including I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLAN, DANCING IN THE DARK, MAKE THE MAN LOVE ME, BY MYSELF, and more. Here’s that delicious recital:
Craig Ventresco told me some years back that Keith was “a real musician,” and these performances testify to that. I hope someone lets Jonathan Schwartz know about the recital of his father’s work: I am sure that JS would be very pleased.