Origins of Jazz Series Shines Spotlight on Piano Styles

by Mark Bialczak | 54 days ago

The Origins of Jazz series is coming back for the LPL community.

The 2019 edition will feature four concerts that showcase various the piano and its various styles within jazz.

The Dick Ford Trio kicks off Origins of Jazz at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at Brookdale Liverpool, 4055 Long Branch Road, with a set that will highlight ragtime and swing.

DickFord(Dick Ford opens the series with ragtime and swing Oct. 6 at Brookdale Liverpool)

The music will move back into the Carman Community Room with Mark Nanni and the Intention on Oct. 27 for conversational jazz in the style of Bill Evans, the Andrew Carroll Trio on Nov. 17 for modern jazz from Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, and Rod Blumenau’s Dixieland Update on Dec. 15 for traditional New Orleans and stride sounds.

All shows are on a Sunday at 2 p.m.

Dick Ford started playing music professionally 67 years ago, when he was 15. He played country western music in high school while growing up in West Winfield in Herkimer County, and 1950s style music at proms and weddings while attending Ithaca College. But it was the sounds of Fats Waller and Duke Ellington that enticed him the most, Ford said.

At 82 years old, he plays regularly at Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls and Stone’s Steakhouse in Syracuse, gigs he calls “ambiance music,” where he entertains dinner crowds with generational music from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Nat King Cole and even the Beatles, as well as shows at 22 community senior centers for “smiling, happy retired people.”

Ford, who earned his doctorate in education from Syracuse University, earned community praise and awards for his long-standing Signature Syracuse program, which provided free instruments and lessons for inner city students.

He ended that several years ago, but still teaches about global issues at OCC.

“I’m an eclectic,” Ford said. “I’m at a wonderful stage of my life.”

His trio at Brookdale will include CNY veterans Jimmy Johns on drums and Mike Solazzo on bass.

For an added treat, he’ll bring 16-year-old Evelyn Tao, a student from Jamesville-Dewitt, to play Scott Joplin ragtime on piano. “People will enjoy hearing her play,” Ford said.

BrookdaleDriopOff(Those with difficulty walking can be dropped off in front of Brookdale)

Parking at Brookdale is limited. Some spaces will be available on the side of the service road to the right of the building and in the lot it leads to behind the building. Overflow parking will be along Long Branch Road and in the school parking lot adjacent to Brookdale. Those who can’t walk distances can be dropped off in the driveway in front of Brookdale.

The project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council of the Arts. Russ Tarby of the Liverpool Is the Place committee works with the LPL to program the series.