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Frederick Hodges & Adam Swanson | Double Trouble: Hot Piano Duets

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Jazz: Ragtime Classical: Film Music Moods: Instrumental
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Double Trouble: Hot Piano Duets

by Frederick Hodges & Adam Swanson

Two top piano artists team up for an album of hot, exciting, elegant, and imaginative piano music. Classic rags and Hollywood songs sparkle in their lush, toe-tapping arrangements.
Genre: Jazz: Ragtime
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Double Trouble
2:59 $0.99
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2. Maple Leaf Rag
3:06 $0.99
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3. The Entertainer
4:00 $0.99
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4. Swipsey Cake Walk
3:19 $0.99
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5. Stay Out of the South
4:46 $0.99
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6. Dill Pickles
2:34 $0.99
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7. Take Me Out To the Ball Game
2:39 $0.99
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8. Nola
2:44 $0.99
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9. Canadian Capers
4:02 $0.99
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10. Happy Feet
2:49 $0.99
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11. Pianoflage
3:33 $0.99
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12. Kitten On the Keys
2:33 $0.99
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13. Manhattan Madness
2:16 $0.99
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14. Space Shuffle
3:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
About the Artists

Adam Swanson, from the small town of Shenandoah, Iowa, is rapidly becoming known as one of the world’s foremost performers and historians of ragtime and early American popular music. He discovered ragtime on his grandparents’ “Web-TV” and has played the piano about seven years. He has taken piano lessons from Waleed Howrani of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a Graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory. Although he is only seventeen years old, he has been a featured performer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States. In 2007 Adam appeared alongside John Arpin at the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival in the Republic of Hungary. He is the youngest winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest held in Peoria, Illinois, having won the contest in 2008 and 2009. Most recently, Adam recorded a duet album with the great Johnny Maddox. They perform together in the Diamond Belle Saloon at the Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado. Adam is also an avid rail-fan, collects antique sheet music, records, and piano rolls. His CDs are available at cdbaby.com. Adam regularly performs as a piano duetist with Frederick Hodges at concerts and musical festivals around the country.

Frederick Hodges specializes in the piano music and popular songs of the ragtime era, the 1920s, and the 1930s. While still in college, he was hired by Don Neely to serve as pianist and singer with the famed Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. Soon, Frederick was playing solo piano for society parties and holding down steady engagements at legendary Nob Hill establishments such as L’Etoile in the Huntington Hotel, Masons in the Fairmont Hotel, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Frederick also plays piano with the Peter Mintun Orchestra, the Jesters vocal trio, and with various jazz ensembles. In addition to these musical outlets, Frederick enjoys a career as a silent film accompanist, in which capacity he is heard monthly at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, the Redding Silent Film Festival, and other silent film festivals around the world. As a solo pianist, he is a favorite at jazz and ragtime festivals around the country. For more information, please visit Frederick’s website: www.frederickhodges.com.

1) Double Trouble
Leo Robin, Richard A. Whiting & Ralph Rainger
Famous Music Corp., 1935

The sensational Lyda Roberti and the wisecracking Jack Oakie introduced this toe-tapping number in the musical film The Big Broadcast of 1936 (Paramount, 1935). Coincidentally, Jack Oakie (1903-1978) was born in Sedalia, the Missouri town where the “Maple Leaf Rag” was first published in 1899. Ray Noble, who also starred in the film, made a terrific dance band recording of this song in 1935 (Victor 25104), with singing provided by the male vocal trio the Freshmen. Frederick Hodges provides the singing in this recording.

2) Maple Leaf Rag
Scott Joplin
John Stark & Son, 1899

The most beloved composition in the ragtime piano literature, the “Maple Leaf Rag” has assured the status of composer Scott Joplin (1867-1917) as a musical genius. The origin of this two-piano arrangement was in a late-night piano duet jam session at the 2007 West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California. Adam challenged Frederick to play the “Maple Leaf Rag” in the key of B-major. Frederick, in turn, countered with a challenge to play the piece in a dizzying kaleidoscopic array of unrelated keys including B-major. True to form, Adam amazed the audience with his musical brilliance.

3) The Entertainer
Scott Joplin
John Stark & Son, 1902

Scott Joplin’s 1902 rag “The Entertainer” was made famous through its inclusion in the score to the popular movie The Sting (Universal, 1973). The wonderfully refreshing Joplin compositions featured in the film launched the greatest and longest-lasting ragtime revival in this history of American popular music. The name of the piece actually comes from the title given to Joplin at the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia, Missouri—“Master Scott Joplin, the entertainer.” We decided it was appropriate to make a spicy arrangement of this rag, too.

4) Swipesy Cake Walk
Scott Joplin & Arthur Marshall
John Stark & Son, 1900

Joplin’s first collaboration, published in 1900, has an interesting history. Joplin lived with Arthur Marshall (1881-1968) and his family in Sedalia, Missouri, for several months in 1894. The musically talented young boy fell under the sway of Joplin’s genius and personality, resulting in their collaboration on “Swipesy Cake Walk.” Joplin contributed the trio, while Marshall wrote the rest. There are several versions of the story about the origin of the title of the piece. In one version of the story, Stark invited a shoeshine boy who regularly shined his shoes to pose for the sheet music cover photograph. The bashful look on the boy’s face suggested to Stark the look of someone who had just swiped some cookies, so he said, “Let’s call it Swipesy.” Marshall said in an interview that they were delivering the manuscript to Stark’s office when they noticed two newspaper boys squabbling outside on the street. Someone said one boy had swiped a newspaper from the other and suggested naming the piece “Swipesy.” Whatever the case, the composition is a masterpiece, highlighted by its exciting stomping shout-chorus-like final strain.

5) Stay Out of the South
Harold Dixon
Harold Dixon Music Publisher, 1927

A song containing the wonderful message: “If you want to miss a heaven on earth, stay out of the South.” The Coon-Sanders Orchestra made the definitive recording of this tune (Victor 21258). The Vaudeville team of Gus Van and Joe Schenck also featured it in an early musical short, the Metro Movietone Revue No. 1 (MGM, 1928). Sophie Tucker recorded a marvelous version for Columbia (Columbia 4941) while touring in London in June 1928, and Frederick follows in Sophie’s footsteps, singing all the words in this recording.

6) Dill Pickles
Charles L. Johnson
Carl Hoffman Music Company, 1906

Another ragtime classic, this gem was written by the Kansas City composer Charles L. Johnson (1876-1950). Johnson reported that he was working on the piece one Saturday afternoon at the Carl Hoffman Music Company when a bookkeeper asked him what it was called. Noticing that the bookkeeper was carrying a carton of dill pickles, the quick-witted Johnson replied, “I’ll call it the ‘Dill Pickles Rag.’”

7) Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer
The York Music Co., 1908

The words to this enduring classic were written in 1908 by vaudeville star Jack Norworth (1879-1959), who, while riding the subway in New York City, was inspired by a sign that read “Baseball Today—Polo Grounds.” The words were set to music by the Tin Pan Alley powerhouse Albert Von Tilzer (1878-1956). Somewhat ironically, Norworth and Von Tilzer only saw their first major league baseball game thirty-two and twenty years later, respectively. Composers and performers were evidently too busy to indulge in such distractions. The song was first introduced in vaudeville by Norworth’s wife Nora Bayes (1880-1928) but was quickly adopted by many other vaudeville acts. Norworth and Bayes were famous for writing and performing such smash hits as “Shine On, Harvest Moon,” which was debuted by the composers in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. Frederick Hodges provides the singing here, including the rarely heard verse.

8) Nola
Felix Arndt
Sam Fox Publishing Co, 1915

When Felix Arndt (1889-1918) composed this charming piece in 1915, he probably had no idea that he had spawned the next stage in the evolution of ragtime – the novelty piano solo, a genre that was brought to fruition in the early-1920s. Arndt named the piece for his wife. It was a great loss to the world of music when Arndt died in the great flu epidemic of 1918. This two-piano duet version was inspired by an arrangement by J. S. Zamecnik.

9) Canadian Capers
Gus Chandler, Bert White, and Henry Cohen
Remick Music Corp., 1915

San Francisco barber and bandleader Sid LeProtti claimed that he wrote this piece. Apparently, Henry Cohen happened to hear LeProtti playing the piece in a saloon in San Francisco one day and became captivated with it. Cohen requested the piece several times over the next few weeks and eventually transcribed it to musical notation. Gus Chandler and Bert White provided the lyrics. It became quite popular as “Canadian Capers,” and is one of the few rags that have been in nearly continuous publication since it was first published. It was issued as a song, a piano solo, and a piano duet. Our arrangement was inspired by the two-piano arrangement published by J. Louis Merkur.

10) Happy Feet
Milton Ager (M) & Jack Yellen (L)
Ager, Yellen & Bornstein Inc., 1930

This snappy song was composed for Universal Picture’s all-talking, all singing, all-dancing, all-color musical review, the King of Jazz, featuring Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. The spectacularly vivid production number developed out of this song begins with the jazzy vocalizations of Bing Crosby with the other Rhythm Boys, Al Rinker and Harry Barris. Next, the song is sung in English and German by The Sisters “G” — Karla and Eleaner Gutchrlein, who were specialty dancers noted for their winsomeness, acrobatics, and stunning hairstyles à la Louise Brooks. In his version of this song, Frederick Hodges sensibly sticks with English.

11) Pianoflage
Roy Bargy
Sam Fox Publishing Co., 1922

This marvelous rag was written by Roy Frederick Bargy (1894-1974). Bargy was a great pianist and composer who worked as pianist, arranger, and musical director for the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, and later the Isham Jones Orchestra. In 1928, Bargy began a twelve-year association with Paul Whiteman’s great dance orchestra as pianist and arranger. Bargy was the first pianist to record George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orchestra (Columbia 50139-D and 50140-D). A colorfully dressed Bargy can be seen and heard playing “Nola” in the King of Jazz (Universal, 1930). In 1943, he took up the baton as Jimmy Durante’s musical director. Bargy remained with Durante for the next twenty years. Bargy recorded Pianoflage in August 1922 for Victor Records (Victor 18969), on piano roll for Imperial (513130) the same year, and on an Ampico roll (68751E) in 1928. Adam and Frederick’s version may be the world’s first recorded two-piano duet of this inspired novelty rag.

12) Kitten on the Keys
Zez Confrey
Mills Music, Inc., 1921

Zez Confrey (1895-1971) scored the biggest hit of his career in 1921 with this piano novelty masterpiece. As historian David A. Jasen has astutely noted, “This is the Maple Leaf Rag of the novelty rags.” It is deservedly one of the most popular novelties ever published. Confrey was a noted virtuoso pianist on stage, on record, and piano roll. He distinguished himself with his brilliant compositional skills, which he displayed in his complex novelty rags, concert studies, popular songs, and impressionistic mood pieces. Our arrangement was inspired by the clever two-piano arrangement by J. Louis Merkur.

13) Manhattan Madness
Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin Music Co., 1931

This atmospheric song, depicting the frantic and confusing pace of modern urban life against a contrasting backdrop of Depression squalor and Art Deco splendor, was composed for Irving Berlin’s legendary musical review Face the Music. It was introduced on stage by the handsome golden-voiced Broadway and Hollywood star J. Harold Murray (1891–1940). The song also found its way into the movies as the opening number in the party scene in the Jimmy Durante – Lupe Velez comedy Strictly Dynamite (RKO, 1934). In this recording, Adam provides solo accompaniment to Frederick’s vocal.

14) Space Shuffle
Robin Frost
Robin Frost, 1980

This virtuosic modern composition has become increasing popular at ragtime festivals. Composer Robin Frost reports that “Space Shuffle” was written around 1979 to celebrate the first flights of the space shuttle. It is a purely pianistic work in that it deliberately and cleverly requires that both the highest and lowest notes on the keyboard be played in the same measure to depict the tremendous scope of NASA’s space shuttle ascent and descent.

Notes by Adam Swanson and Frederick Hodges

For bookings and information, contact Frederick Hodges at www.frederickhodges.com.

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