Tony Caramia

Nimble Fingered Gentleman

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This is one of those esoteric but fascinating sets that only the Stomp Off label would come out with. Billy Mayerl was a top novelty ragtime composer and pianist in England during the 1920s and '30s. Mayerl wrote catchy but nearly impossible-to-play piano pieces that could only be performed flawlessly by virtuosi. Fortunately, Tony Caramia fits the bill. For this 1996 solo piano recital, he performs 20 of Mayerl's works (including the four-part "Four Aces Suite") in chronological order, dating from 1925-40, with one number ("Trapeze") from 1948. None of the pieces (best-known is "Marigold") are remembered today, so this is a particularly fresh set of classic (if obscure) music, performed by a brilliant pianist. Easily recommended to classic jazz collectors.

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