Desert Island Jazz
Ray Skjelbred (2003)
Ray Skjelbred is a Chicago native. That fact becomes readily apparent when he sits down to play piano and the sounds of the Windy City emanate from the keyboard. His inspirations are Joe Sullivan, Jess Stacy, Earl Hines, Art Hodes and the "goofy guys" --players with unique, eccentric styles such as George Zack, Cassino Simpson, Zinky Cohn, Alex Hill and "Kansas City Frank" Melrose. Still, Ray''s tastes are anything but one-dimensional. His musical heroes include figures as diverse as Charles Ives, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry and Dick Lammi. According to drummer Hal Smith, Ray''s playing is the "ultimate illustration of jazz as ''the sound of surprise.'' Although Ray was born in Chicago (and played accordion there), he didn''t become aware of jazz or take up piano until he moved to Seattle and met Johnny Wittwer, a major jazz and ragtime figure who gave Ray lessons and introduced him to public performing. Next, Ray fell in with a group of young musicians and wound up co leading the Great E.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Jess Stacy Piano Solos (LP) The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise (Swaggie)
# 2 Duke Ellington Unknown Session Creole Blues (Columbia)
# 3 Jimmy Noone and Earl Hines Apex Blues My Monday Date (Decca)
# 4 Earl Hines 57 Varieties (LP) I Ain't Got Nobody (CBS France)
# 5 Spike Hughes, featuring Henry "Red" Allen, Chu Berry, Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins Spike Hughes and His All-American Orchestra (LP) Sweet Sue (Ace of Clubs)
# 6 Joe Sullivan Gin Mill (LP) Blues for McCoys (Pumpkin)
# 7 Washington Phillips Denomination Blues (LP) Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There (Agram)
# 8 Sons of the Pioneers Songs of the Hills and Plains (LP) At the End of the Lane (AGM)
         
Book Penguin "Contemporary American Poets", selected by Donald Hall
         
Luxury Item Paper and a long-lasting pen or pencil
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