April 29, 2007 Scott Warner from SF Comes to Play a Gig
Scott Warner is a San Francisco/Oakland based jazz piano player, composer, and teacher extraordinaire. He was in NC to play piano with the jazz trio, with Robbie Link on bass and Matt McCaughan on drums, that accompanies the NC Youth Tap Ensemble. The youth tap dancers are lead by Gene Medler, with Yvette Glover (mother of Savion) singing and Michelle Dorrance tapping and inspiring the youth. It was a wonderful weekend of performances, that culminated with Scott playing during my radio show, Melva's Musings on Jazz, brought to you each Sunday evening from 7:00 - 9:00 on WCOM in downtown Carrboro, NC.
During my show, we alternated between Scott playing keyboard (thank you, Chris Frank with the Red Clay Ramblers, for loaning the keyboard and helping with the setup) and playing songs off of Scott's CDs.
We began by sharing, Feeling Like Someone in Love, which was sung by Frankie Alexander (Durham-based singer) and Scott on piano. From Scott's CD, wild man blues, I played Pine Apple Rag, Jungle Blues, and Naked Dance. With a grant from the Durham Arts Council, Scott synthesized and reworked classic rag time songs and made them his own. Entire musical strains are missing, melodies have been reharmonized, and in a few cases the tunes have been juxtaposed rhythmically in a way that the composers might hardly recognize their songs.
Scott played in the studio - Song for My Father, Stella by Starlight, They Can't Take That Away From Me, and a variation of Beethovan's Pathetique (2nd Movement). Friends called into the show to say how much they were enjoying the music. Scott is an unbelievably talented piano player and composer.
The phone rang and it was Scott's parents calling from Ohio. They were having difficulties connecting to the web, and so I had them stay on the line as Scott continued to play - You Don't Know What Love Is. He played a beautiful rendition of What a Wonderful World for his mom, Lucy, in honor of Mother's Day. She was both touched and speechless.
We then played songs from Scott's CD, Mindfield, that was put together with support from the University of NC at Chapel Hill's Jazz Program, where Scott taught for over ten years. Playing with Scott on this CD, which all of the songs but one are his compositions, are Jimmy Greene on soprano and tenor saxophones; Rodney Whitaker on acoustic bass; and Gerald Cleaver on drums. We played Mindfield, After the Deluge, and Won't Someone Listen.
Scott finished up the show by playing in the studio - Things Aren't What They Used to Be. It was great to have Scott Warner here in town. He was my jazz piano teacher for two years and I still miss him. I, and many others, look forward to his return.