Jimmy Wisner

Asia Minor

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Arranger extraordinaire Jimmy Wisner was already making some noise as a jazz pianist around Philadelphia in 1960 (and on record) when he cut a semi-novelty piano tune based on Grieg's Piano Concerto. With shellac on the piano hammers to produce a more vibrant sound on a $50, out-of-tune upright piano, Wisner called the result "Asia Minor" and put the record out under the name of Kokomo, so as not to offend the jazz crowd. Soon he had a record much bigger than his jazz recordings, and the subsequent trips back to the well that followed on album and singles are all collected here on this 21-track compilation. What Wisner came up with was a one-hit novelty sound, but he had enough music behind it to make subsequent knockoffs quite listenable. Highlights include "Piano Rhapsody," "Asia Major," "King of Hearts," "Twentieth Century Drawing Room" and "Roy's Tune."

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