Ralph Waldo Emerson would have admired Ray Skjelbred, who trusts himself, listens to his own heart, knows the sources and honors them but goes his own beautiful zigzag ways. Soulful, whimsical, making the piano sing songs it didn’t know it could sing.
Here are four solo transformations created by Ray at the 2016 San Diego Jazz Fest. How lovely and how surprising they — and he — are!
K.M.H. DRAG, in honor of Max Kaminsky, Freddie Moore, and Art Hodes:
You may call it MUSKRAT RAMBLE or SAVOYAGER’S STOMP. Either will receive full credit:
Ellington’s 1933 BUNDLE OF BLUES (“from the motion picture of the same name”) — melodic and quixotic both:
I don’t think that there’s an alternate title for STRUTTIN’ WITH SOME BARBECUE, but please notice the cheerful subversions Ray works on it from the inside . . . laproscopically, perhaps?
When Ray sits down to the piano, beautiful memorable surprises spring up.
May your happiness increase!