Andrew Oliver • No Local Stops

Andrew Oliver may very well be the finest traditional jazz pianist in the world that you have never heard of. Although an American by birth, he’s lived and performed in London, England since 2013 without recording much for European or American labels. This writer, having heard his only other appearance on an American label as the creative and swinging band pianist with Andy Schumm’s Sink-O-Pators, let curiosity win out when he saw that Oliver had created this solo album of ragtime and early jazz material, certainly different from his prior recorded appearance. It turned out that this is a winner. Oliver is personally creative to various degrees from selection to selection, but is always respectful to the original composers’ intentions and, in all cases where the creator was a pianist, to the style of the composer. This album’s title selection is a railroad train composition by Willie “The Lion” Smith replete with powerful locomotive momentum, but also the Lion’s personal harmonies and licks. The least creative performances of the selections here are the two Joseph Lamb tunes, “Ethiopia Rag” and “Cottontail Rag” which are played as written. An interesting thing about these is that they were composed fifty years apart, in 1909 and 1959. The quality of these cements Lamb’s place as one of the top three ragtime composers along with Scott Joplin and James Scott.
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Ted des Plantes is an Ohio-based multi-instrumentalist who has been involved with numerous traditional jazz groups in a career spanning 50 years. Find a number of recordings he has released on his TdP Productions label on Bandcamp

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