Tuesday, 8 February 2011

I hate pianos

I've just listened to most of an otherwise wonderful album, 'Alegria' by Wayne Shorter, spoilt by the presence of pianos.  The horns and the bass create the chords and the counterpoint, and the drums whizz around behind the rhythm - and then the unneeded piano barges in, clunkingly, thrusting the harmony and the rhythm, which I already had, into my face.  And then, when it's time to solo, they waste whole minutes cramming in as many notes as they can, just to prove they can (because it's so much easier to plonk around on a piano than it is on a guitar or a trombone), while you go off and do the washing-up or something.  It would have been so much better without it.  Listen to the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, or Chet Baker. 

Of course, I'm not a total pianophobe.  They're fine - nay, great - in their place.  These are my top five pianists: Errol Garner (who needs a drummer?); Dave Brubeck (who needs a brass section?); Count Basie (never play two notes where one will do);  Oscar Peterson (because he's the only person who could actually bend a note on the thing); and Jerry Lee Lewis (because otherwise we wouldn't have had rock'n'roll).

And imagine, joyfully, a world without Jools Holland.

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