Recital Room, Saturday 17th April 2010

Richard Michael is better known – at least to me – as a jazz educator than as a performer. On Saturday, though, he was playing a solo set at the Recital Rooms.

What we got was a bit out of the ordinary, though, being as much an illustrated talk as a straightforward concert. He gave us a brief run through the early history of jazz piano, from ragtime to bebop, played a few pieces from his new album of Burns songs, and a medley of train tunes. He also explained why Bach was, at heart, a jazz musician (improvisation, obviously). He’s an insightful and witty speaker with a fine selection of anecdotes and trivia: I discovered that Fats Waller once played in the building that is now my office! Maybe his piano playing, while technically superb, lacked a little depth, but overall this was a very enjoyable evening.