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Track(s) taken from CDA67967

Dizzy Fingers


Piers Lane (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2012
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: September 2013
Total duration: 1 minutes 57 seconds

Cover artwork: Portrait of Piers Lane by John Beard (b1943)


'This superbly recorded disc (played on a gorgeously voiced Steinway) is Lane's love letter to the piano. I wish more pianists would share their guilty pleasures like this' (Gramophone)

'Lane in wonderful, debonair mode here, sparkling through a personal encore selection from Jamaican Rumba to a Toccata by his own father, and from Myra Hess to Dudley Moore' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Puts smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes … Katharine Parker's Down Longford Way grows from an Ivor Novello-like charm into an opulently Romantic piece of striking contrast and colour, indeed the perfect choice with which to launch the disc. The playing throughout is first-class: witty where it needs to be, reflective and joyous elsewhere … Lane is a dynamic, insightful pianist who is able to bring a new perspective to the repertoire. His renditions of the Grainger and Bach / Hess pieces are quite beautiful, and in Mayerl's Marigold I can hardly imagine a more heartfelt account' (International Record Review)

'Piers Lane, one of the most versatile pianists around, presents many sides of himself in a selection of pieces that may seem topsy-turvy, incongruous even, but there are some wonderful and brilliant things here to be re-united with or discovered, and each piece is superbly played, with complete identification, and beautifully recorded too—just like a piano should sound, with all of Lane’s colours, dynamics and inflections faithfully relayed' (Classical Source)
The career of Edward Elzear ‘Zez’ Confrey (1895–1971) had vague parallels with that of Billy Mayerl, albeit in the States rather than the United Kingdom. He was born in Illinois, the youngest of five children. At the age of four he was able to copy his eldest brother Jim’s piano playing by ear, and while still at school he played in and directed his own orchestra. He undertook classical music studies at the Chicago Musical College and when he was twenty he and Jim formed an orchestra, which recorded dance music hits for the Victor Talking Machine Company. During World War I he joined the navy and toured in a musical revue called Leave it to sailors, both playing and acting alongside a talented violinist—none other than the later television personality Jack Benny. After the war Confrey recorded piano novelties for the QRS Piano Roll Company and later for Ampico—171 rolls between 1918 and 1927. These led to recordings for companies like Brunswick, Edison and Emerson, and a music publishing contract. In 1924 Confrey was the first-half drawcard for the concert that introduced George Gerswhin’s Rhapsody in BlueAn Experiment in Modern Music with Paul Whiteman’s Palais Royal Orchestra. In the ’30s and ’40s Confrey composed more and more for jazz big bands, but largely retired from composition after the second World War. When he died from Parkinson’s disease in 1971 he left over a hundred piano solos, plus songs, miniature operas, simple beginners’ music and his 1923 book Zez Confrey’s Modern Course in Novelty Piano Playing, which had been continually in print for forty years. His first hit was Kitten on the Keys (1921), but Dizzy Fingers (1923), a cleverly written étude with enough rhythmic quirkiness to keep things interesting, has always come a close second in popularity.

from notes by Piers Lane © 2013

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