Live Performance proudly presents The Original Piano Trio: The Complete
Recordings, a collection of dazzling piano performances translated from
Ampico reproducing piano rolls and artfully adapted for playback on the
high-resolution Model LX system.
The Original Piano Trio was the creation of Edgar Fairchild,
Herbert Clair and George Dilworth, three highly-skilled pianists and
recording artists of the early 1920s. Each had enjoyed success
independently, and their collaboration as a trio produced a truly distinctive
sound that soon became popular in concerts, nightclubs and phonograph
recordings. Shortly after the group was formed in 1922, the trio appeared in
George White's Scandals with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra,
playing George Gershwin's I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise
onstage for the finale of the first act. Their first recordings
appeared the same year.
The trio's musical style typifies the dawn of the Jazz Age,
with some elements derived from the ragtime music that peaked in
popularity only a few years before. Using two pianos (sometimes three),
Fairchild, Clair and Dilworth played music arranged in a rich, orchestral
fashion, somewhat in the style of the dance orchestras of the time,
resulting in a lush musical texture. There were numerous opportunities
for each pianist to display his prowess at the keyboard, and the
performances are filled with delightfully creative flourishes and
Popular music of the time had begun to make heavy use of contractions,
slang, and nonsense syllables in its lyrics. Some of this "popular"
usage even spilled over into the titles recorded by The Original Piano Trio.
In Toot, Toot, Tootsie, a song that tells the story of parting lovers
as the boyfriend must board a train, the "toot" of the train whistle is
coupled with the woman's pet name "Tootsie". Da-Da-Da My Darling
employs alliterative nonsense syllables. Imitative lyrics and titles abounded,
including titles such as Boo-Hoo-Hoo (You're Gonna Cry When I'm Gone).
As their popularity grew, The Original Piano Trio was engaged by
the American Piano Company to record select performances as
reproducing piano rolls, enabling their performances to be
played "live" on Ampico reproducing pianos in the luxurious homes of
The Original Piano Trio recorded twenty-four music rolls for the
American Piano Company. These rolls were issued in a short time,
spanning the 12 months from January, 1922 through January, 1923,
an average of two rolls per month. The rolls must have sold well,
judging from their presence in almost every large collection of
Ampico rolls, but their representation is uneven. Some, such as Gershwin's
I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise, are easy to find. Some others are
quite rare, with only one or two known copies still in existence.
Live Performance located, borrowed, and transcribed all twenty-four
of The Original Piano Trio's rolls using a specially-designed optical scanner.
Proprietary software recovered the punch matrix of each
master roll from which the production rolls were made. These were processed
using a software emulator that accurately simulated the
behavior of the pneumatic Ampico mechanisms the rolls were designed to control.
The result is a high-quality translation from The Original Piano Trio's
Ampico recordings to a form suitable for use on the Model LX system.
When you play these albums, you will hear exactly what Ampico owners
heard in 1922-- lively music, intended for dancing, that now evokes a
long-gone era of fun and celebration.
Please contact us for more information on this
exciting new release.