Never mind Coca-Cola, British pianist Billy Mayerl was the Real Thing, according to Pearl Records, who in 1995 released a 26-track collection of his recordings dating from the years 1931-1939. The context for the album title had to do with Mayerl's phenomenal keyboard dexterity and his popular piano tutoring business, which made him a household word during the decade preceding the Second World War; jazz pianist Marian McPartland named Mayerl as an early influence. Pearl's Mayerl sampler has nine titles in common with ASV Living Era's Billy Mayerl Plays Billy Mayerl, while only a handful appear on the excellent two-volume anthology of Original Recordings issued by Naxos in 2003. Anyone developing an appetite for Mayerl's pleasant parlor piano ought to throw down and obtain all of these excellent albums. Special consideration may be given to The Real Thing on account of the inclusion of "The Joker" (a sequel to his "Four Aces" suite); "Billy Mayerl's Savoy Havana Memories," "Bats in the Belfry," "Railroad Rhythm," and "Hop O'My Thumb," seemingly inspired by the 17th century French children's tale by Charles Perrault. Some of these pieces are mere trifles (three of them last less than a minute) while a medley of airs from the 1938 motion picture Over She Goes lasts a little over eight minutes.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf