Dick Hyman & Dick Wellstood
Stridemonster! is the twosome of Dick Hyman and Dick Wellstood, piano players. Usually, two-piano teams are co-operative. These guys are competitive, agreeing on a tune they'll play, but that's about all. Mostly, Hyman's offerings are elegant, reasonable and impeccably played. Hyman is simply a superb pianist and musician. Wellstood's music is highly personable, crackling with energy, finding freshness in traditional jazz piano.
At the core, though both Hyman and Wellstood revere the work of James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Willie the Lion Smith and all the other early stridemonsters, and they create their music in that spirit of wanton heed and cunning abandon. They are also intelligent and articulate men, and have provided their own comments of the music in the booklet of this CD reissue.
The above commentary comes from Ted O'Reilly, the producer of this music back in 1986 in a New York studio and in performance at Harbourfront, Toronto in 1987. The 1986 session was originally issued on Unisson Records. This CD reissue includes one extra tune from that session - a slightly mysterioso version of Jelly Roll Morton's Froggie Moore. The usable material from the Harbourfront gig (there were a lot of technical problems and an occasional musical stumble) adds California Here I Come, Old Man River and a medley of Manhattan/The Sidewalks of New York to Stridemonster!'s legacy.
This is virtuoso, barnstorming music!
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