Bernd Lhotzky plays The Lion

"Fading Star" (1939) is one of the most beautiful compositions by Willie 'The Lion' Smith and, for sure, one of his most impressionistic masterpieces. If you concentrate in Lhotzky's brilliant performance of the descending first phrase, played in triplets as most of the A theme, you'll be reminded of the trail left by a falling star. The second theme, developed on the chord progression of the first one, is nothing short of brilliance as well.

The melody of "Morning Air" (1938) sparkled up in The Lion's mind while contemplating the spectacular view of Manhattan from St. Nicholas Park, after he had being partying all night with Jack Teagarden and George Wettling. He quickly ran to his apartment and began modulating the phrase through different keys, developing it into the opening theme.

Let's end this series of Bernd Lhotzky videos with his rendition of "Passionette" (1935), a composition in which the left hand is not expected to play stride patterns except for three measures at the very end of the piece, and instead is used in counterpoint to the right hand.

2 comentarios:

  1. From Markus Leuthel:

    Hi Agustin,
    I still remember Bernd perform "Fading Star" for the first time at one of his earlier gigs in Berlin, could have been around 1995. He played at the "Fl ... Ver másöz", a nice small, dark and worn out Blues cellar with a beautiful old grand piano run by guitarist/vocalist Franz de Byl. Sadly that place closed for good couple of years ago. Bernd played the piece so beautifully that I was in tears (quietly), he must have noticed something though, for afterwards he asked me "what had happened", if I was ok. I couldn't exactly tell why his rendition touched me so much, but this is Bernd: a heart as big as the universe, and for sure he reaches out to deeply touch you with his way to play that music.

  2. De Juan Jose Gonzalez:

    Aunque prefiero oir estos temas por el propio WIILLIE "THE LION "SMITH", gracias por acordarte de aquel gran pianista, hoy injustamente olvidado. De estas interpretaciones prefiero la primera, la "debussyniana". Las de ritmo me resultan un poco frías.