THE REAL THING: RAY SKJELBRED in RECITAL at CLINE CELLARS, JULY 13, 2013

I’ve already posted some life-enhancing music from the 2013 Cline Cellars Wine and Dixieland Festival — music by the Black Diamond Blue Five (more to come) and the Ragtime Skedaddlers.  But this set of solo piano by Ray Skjelbred was something special.  For one thing, getting to hear unamplified “acoustic” piano out in the open air is a singular pleasure — that the Beloved and I could sit so close and that my camera was welcome was sheer bliss.

Skjelbred himself is — although he would shrug off such an appellation — a true Artist.  Not only is he a fine romping pianist, mixing delicacy with propulsion, he is a quiet scholar of the music. Who else would offer us such a delicious bill of rare music by Frank Melrose, Tut Soper, and others — as well as MEMORIES OF YOU and SQUEEZE ME, classics that don’t get old, and Ray’s own wry, often hilariously tilted originals.

Here’s the music.  See if I overstate!

Frank Melrose’s JEMIMA STOMP:

HOLDING THE SACK:

Ray’s National Pastime salute, THE BALLS AND STRIKES FOREVER:

Tut Soper’s IT’S A RAMBLE:

An evocation of Earl “Fatha” Hines, FATHER SWING:

Eubie’s MEMORIES OF YOU:

Ray’s own THE SAND BAG RAG:

A little SQUEEZE ME, for Fats, Joe, and Jess:

Chicago clarinetist Bud Jacobson’s LAUGHING AT YOU:

One of the nicest parts of the whole day at Cline — which was a splendid pleasure — was in walking from one site to another and hearing Ray’s piano ring out over the treetops.  Not loud, not bossy, but pastoral music as it might have been played for doves and larks who know what swing is all about.

This post is for Ida Melrose, Kenrick Lee, and Kate O’Donovan — who know Ray’s generous quirky virtues in their own ways.

May your happiness increase!

3 responses to “THE REAL THING: RAY SKJELBRED in RECITAL at CLINE CELLARS, JULY 13, 2013

  1. Bill Gallagher

    I am always surprised at the people who walk aimlessly into the range of the camera…and then linger…and then return to carry the insult further. It’s a phenomenon rarely seen except at COSCO when, possibly the same people, are armed with a shopping cart and manage to block entire aisles. My question, Mr. Manners, would it be fair to defend your space with the use of a cattle prod?

  2. “Son, don’t let it bother you!” says Fats. Seriously, if I had to explain to people that they are blocking the view, it would lead to discussion, which would interfere with the audio — and even if someone is standing in the way of the camera, the sound gets through. I learned that the world isn’t my recording studio — this acceptance saved what remaining hair I have. Ray sure can play, can’t he?!

  3. Bill Gallagher

    Okay, a cattle prod may be a bit much. How about a taser? Ray played as pretty as I have ever known him to play and “Memories of You” was just amazing.

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