Frank French | Buon Ritmo Sempre Marcato

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Latin: General Pop: Piano Moods: Featuring Piano
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Buon Ritmo Sempre Marcato

by Frank French

This recording includes the sounds of Creole Piano styles mixed with Ragtime and vernacular Pan- American music.
Genre: Latin: General
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Womba Bomba
5:22 $0.99
2. Centennial Cakewalk
4:18 $0.99
3. Banjo no. III
3:32 $0.99
4. La Cumbia
5:59 $0.99
5. Arabesque
5:37 $0.99
6. Frevo
4:22 $0.99
7. Tumbadores
2:59 $0.99
8. Belle of Louisville
3:14 $0.99
9. Bucktown Buck
3:39 $0.99
10. Candela
6:22 $0.99
11. Cocinero
4:55 $0.99
12. Bolero
6:21 $0.99
13. Campo Criollo
5:41 $0.99
14. Jasmine
5:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
How does one categorize a musician immersed in European Classical traditions from the time of Bach to the 20th Century, but also intensely responsive to the music of New Orleans, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil?

Frank French answers the riddle by synthesizing all these various styles into his own formulation as a pianist and composer. Although it might seem obvious that anyone born to the Rhythm and Blues of the 1950's, growing up in San Francisco and studying the Classics at the Conservatory of Music would likely enough emerge with such an artistic makeup, it is not as though there are no other historical parallels or models for this kind of musical life.

In earlier times the great American musical pioneer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk successfully connected the musical traditions of Europe and Africa in his most important piano compositions dating from the 1850s. It was no accident that Frank French discovered a musical affinity for Gottschalk and became a premiere interpreter of his music. In his unique one-man presentation of Gottschalk's life and music, French weaves musical selections in with the composer's diary to paint a vivid picture in historical context. With Gottschalk, begins this saga of music making, composing and identifying continuing tradition and legacy that is truly Pan-American in it's scope and outlook.

The use of the pianoforte in the way espoused by French implies a distinctive musical territory placing the sound of the Western Hemisphere properly in the larger context of World Music. In this realm the musical imagination revolves around the piano which may be coaxed like a harp in one moment, and beaten like a drum in the next. Here is expressed the contrast of genteel Romanticism and the savage emotive power evoked in a more rugged way of life. Thus is the artistic sentiment now projected onto a landscape of rough and ready ways and means. Manifest in this is the dynamic attraction of spirit to earth.

Over the past 20 years Frank French has performed and recorded this music in community concerts, educational venues, on radio and television. He has criss-crossed the globe from Europe to North America, to Australia, performing at numerous international music festivals in
France, Finland, Germany and throughout North America and Oceana, from the Maine coast to the Gold Coast, from Toronto to Santiago de Cuba. His music speaks a language larger than life through his many performances and recordings.



to write a review

Walter Rhodes

Buon Ritmo Sempre Marcato
I just listened to your original CD with great enjoyment. I thought it would be interesting to jot down my impressions as I was listening, and to do it before I read the liner notes, so my impressions would be based solety on what I heard, along with my memory of what you said at the Fair Oaks concert. The following are completely subjective and don't necessarily agree with the literal facts of the pieces' origins. They are simply what the music suggests to me.

!) "Womba Bomba." You played this at the concert. Sprightly, rhythmic ragtime.

2) "Centennial Cakewalk" Has the kind of poignant emotional content I like--Gershwinesque. Musical territory that I enjoy as a listener and that as a composer would aspire to inhabit.

3) "Triosieme Banjo" Interlocking melody and rhythm--both Baroque-seeming and utterly American. Suggests a 19th-Century American scene with chickens pecking in the barnyards and strict schoolmarms leading classes in the schoolhouse, while prosperous townspeople promenade on Main Street. And it does suggest banjo music.

4) "La Cumbia" Immediately recognizable as having Spanish roots. A touch of "exoticism" from the Moorish ancestor. Nimble phrases in the trebel dance atop rhythmic lines in the bass; together they project both levity and gravity--seemingly incompatible, but not impossible for the Spanish and their descendants, who know that joy and despair are flip sides of the same coin.

5) "Arabesque" Despite the title, this feels less Moorish than "La Cumbia" to me. Does the title refer to a quality of line? In art, an arabesque is a sinuous, recurving line.

6) "Frevo" To my ear, it incorporates a little of the "hootchy-kootchy" music from the attraction "A Street in Cairo," featuring the dancer "Little Egypt," that was such a sensation at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, also known as the Columbian Exposition. This song in its original version is attributed to Sol Bloom, who was the entertainment director of the fair. Two years later, songwriter James Thornton had a hit with his version, expanded and with lyrics, titled "Streets of Cairo, or The Poor Little Country Maid." But according to Wikipedia, the distinctive initial phrase of five notes shows up in a French song from 1719, which in turn "resembles note for note an Algerian or Arabic song titled "Kradoutja." So I'm thinking it's really a folk song and the motif is as old as time.

I don't know how much you wanted to evoke North Africa and/or the Middle East, but hearing just a suggestion of this tune in "Frevo" makes me immediately make that connection . I bring up the foregoing because I tend to like everything that partakes of "the East," as filtered through Western music. I don't necessarily prefer the undiluted source, such as actual Arabian music based on the indigenous maquam scales, although I enjoy some of that too. But the combination of Western foundation and Afro-Asiatic overlay makes a pretty tasty combination. And that's what we have in your music.

7) "Tumbadores" Trebel phrases in quick, short notes in short-long-short pattern are supported by short bass figures. I too am attracted to drumming on the piano.

8) "Belle of Louisville" Back to ragtime. In the bass two-note figures I hear a German tuba ancestor--the bass "oompa, oompa" of a beer-hall band.

9) "Bucktown Buck" I'd like to have seen Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or John Bubbles dance to this. Or Fred Astair, for that matter. But the eras didn't coincide. Of today's dancers, maybe Savion Glover?

10) "Candela" Combines the ragtime and Latin elements that you obviously love so much, in a happy marriage of melody, rhythm and harmony, where, as in all successful music of this type, all three elements support each other and function as both themselves and as the other two. The piano becomes its own orchestra and drums.

11) "Cocinero" How utterly essential is the left hand, even when its job is simple.

12) "Bolero" Back to the territory of sadness, wistful longing and bleak misfortune. A pretty young woman pines for her lover. Odd how sometimes a Spanish sound will seem vaguely Russian for a moment, but it happens sometimes, and to my taste it's good when it does. Definitely a favorite.

13) "Campo Criollo" Its development makes perfect sense to me.

14) "Jasmine" Sounds like the forerunner of jazz, rhythm and blues, soul...if Joplin has written it, it would seem remarkably prescient, and if Gottschalk had written it earlier, even more so. But since it was written recently, it is more of a recapitulation than a quantum jump in evolution. But that doesn't mean it can't be great. Another favorite; wish I'd written it.