|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.5 cm|
Jan Preston – Plays the Music of Winifred Atwell CD review by Chris Spencer
I would hope all readers have had the opportunity to see Jan Preston perform live at folk festivals around the country, playing her piano boogies with gay abandon, (and boots if my memory serves me well) and thus be familiar with her work. Many of you may not have seen Winifred Atwell perform at folk festivals, indeed she is more likely to have played the clubs during her many tours of Australia. Atwell moved to Australia to live permanently during the 1960’s. Preston, a former New Zealander, originally learnt classical music before becoming interested in boogie and ragtime. This is her tribute to Atwell, after researching Atwell’s life for 2 years. While I easily make the link between Winifred and honky tonk piano playing, I am not all that familiar with Atwell’s repertoire. However, I recognised several of the titles Preston interprets here: “Black and White Rag”, “Goodnight Irene” (a relief – breaking the frenetic fast pace of the other tracks), “Alley Cat”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Baby Elephant Walk”. Interestingly, perhaps cheekily, Preston includes four of her own songs – “ Play the Boogie Piano”, “Jan’s Boogie”, “Tango in C Minor” and “Winnie Played the Rag”! There’s also a couple of songs that Atwell composed herself – “Five Finger Boogie” and “Jubilee Rag”. Preston sings on “Play the Boogie Piano” and the fi nal track, “Winnie Played the Rag”, adding another dimension to the CD I’ve only seen Preston perform live playing solo on her electric piano, but on this album, she’s accompanied occasionally by a drummer and a double bass player. Preston provides another link with Atwell in her use of Leon Isackson as the drummer, because Isackson played drums in Atwell’s bands during the seventies. A nice touch! Preston, being the consummate performer, mixes up the styles, genres, arrangements and pace to provide a CD that is entertaining. A must for fans of honky tonk piano and more than just a curiosity for die hard folkies.
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