Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Good Piano rolls
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 03/31/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the early 1920s James P. Johnson recorded a highly influential series of piano rolls, one of the first African-American popular musicians to do so. Listening to piano roll performances is something of an acquired taste: the companies sometimes edited the performances significantly, adding extra notes and generally altering the performers' intentions, usually to the detriment of the music. The skills of the roll operator and their understanding of the music concerned is also a major variable.This disc is a valuable one for a number of reasons. First of all, the rolls included here are less editorially spoilt than most, and so give a reasonable impression of Johnson as he performed at the time (which can be confirmed by listening to his recordings from the same period). Secondly, these performances are played at appropriately lively speeds and on a piano with a good sonorous bass. (This contrasts sharply with the two Biograph CDs which succeed in sounding very insipid even on rolls also on this album).On the down side, this is a straighforward re-issue of an LP, so the CD is short and there is a certain amount of tape hiss present.Piano rolls have significant shortcomings compared to live performances. However, this disc gives a good representation of James P. Johnson, includes his most famous piece, "Charleston" (which he never recorded as a piano solo), and is by far the best of the Johnson piano roll CDs available now."