Steve Nieve | It's Raining Somewhere

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It's Raining Somewhere

by Steve Nieve

Contemplative jazz. a solo piano improvisation recorded in an intimate live setting. Musical themes for the play "Original Version" by Muriel Teodori.
Genre: Classical: Keyboard Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Before
16:11 album only
2. The Time
11:08 album only
3. The World
10:25 album only
4. Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Hair
10:07 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
It’s Raining Somewhere

This music, for solo piano, was realised in 1995. It is part improvisation and part composition, and undulates between them freely. It is music to a theatre play by Muriel Teodori. “Il Pleut Quel Que Part”. The play calls for an actor an actress and a pianist. Throughout the play the pianist interrupts the dialogue with his improvisations. Eventually he leaves the stage with the actress, and the actor is left to have the final word. The music of ‘It’s Raining Somewhere’ is classified as ‘contemplative jazz’. It is the soundtrack of a journey. The journey of a desire between a man and a woman. This recording took place in New York at the Knitting Factory in December 1995. It was an unusual evening, one the heaviest snow falls ever recorded in Manhattan. The day had been bright and cheerful. Only a couple of dozen people ventured out through this incredible blizzard to attend the gig. The warmth of the atmosphere in this is embedded in the recording.

Here is a review of the gig by Tom Chao:

Steve Nieve Live In New York_by Tom Chao
Steve Nieve's solo performances at the Knitting Factory in downtown Manhattan coincided with the first blizzard of the 1995 winter, on December 19 and 20. While fighting gusts of 30 mph trudging through the slushy Soho streets and battling a bad chest cold, I began to question my devotion to music, but I wasn't about to lose my chance to witness this rare event. Steve Nieve hadn't played a concert in New York in six years. (I had never seen him play solo before.)
Only a handful of people showed up for the late show on Wednesday, the 20th. Fewer than 15 people had trickled into the "Main Space" of the Knitting Factory, a small, cold, highceilinged room. I found a seat in the otherwise unoccupied front row, directly in front of the piano (enabling me to set my beer on the stage). In an informal gesture, Nieve walked to the stage through the audience, a glass of (I presume) red wine in one hand. Dressed in a pair of charcoalgray jeans and a plain black pullover, Nieve sported short hair, unlike his appearance at the Beacon Theater with Elvis and the Attractions in August, and he again wore his glasses. He looked rather like an English professor, and I had difficulty associating the person who seated himself at the grand piano with the Steve Nieve pictured shouting across the hotel room on the back of This Years Model, capering in the video for Oliver's Army, or shaving his head and calling himself "Maurice Worm."
With a somber expression, Nieve set about coaxing sonorous, pastoral music from the Baldwin grand. The opening piece was the first of several extended piano pieces which Nieve would play during the evening, clearly far from the mode of the threeminute pop tunes he so deftly embellishes for Elvis. Though one could tell that Nieve had an extensive repertoire of keyboard tricks up his sleeve, his playing always veered towards the simple and tasteful. Certainly here was a person who knew the value of a wellplaced sixth in the upper register. Indeed, while touches of Chopin and Tchaikovsky shone out at times, the model that Nieve returned to again and again was the spare, elegant sensibility of Satie.
Nieve introduced the second piece as In The Blue Hour, thanking all present for coming out on the "coldest night of the year," in a voice so soft and subdued he seemed to speak without exhaling. For the third piece, Nieve asked if anyone had filled out the forms that had been left on the chairs. Each piece of paper had a drawing of a piano keyboard with the request that people select and number six notes on it. He collected these slips and selected one at random. After considering the notes for a few moments, he began to improvise on the set of six notes. Unlike a jazz pianist, who might improvise variations on a melody while playing chords with the left hand, Nieve produced a quite coherent, structured improvisation with a lot of parallel movement in the hands, lasting a few minutes. For the second improvisation, after looking through all the entries, he selected my six notes. (I had the odd but quite gratifying sensation of hearing my name spoken by Steve from the stage.) Since the six notes I marked formed a series of fourths, Nieve had a lot of leeway to improvise, and produced a propulsive piece.
Nieve followed with three pieces based on melodies familiar to owners of Keyboard Jungle and Playboy (his two Demon Records releases). He expanded and extended Ethnic Erithian, Man With A Musical Lighter, and the newly rechristened Page Two Of A Dead Girl's Diary. He concluded with another improvisation based on an audience suggestion, then went into a version of the traditional folk melody, Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair, that finished with Nieve singing the verse. He sang in a voice so breathless and ethereal that it took a moment to locate the source of the sound.
Like Checkpoint Charlie, Nieve didn't "crack a smile" until the very end of the show, when he seemed to be sharing a private joke with someone in the audience. He came back on and announced, "I've taken a couple of melodies from my friend Elvis and screwed them together." He announced that the piece was called, Shot With His Own Green Shirt, and indeed, he managed to put together the burbling sinister 16th notes of the Armed Forces staple with the starkly dramatic octaves of the Trust tour showopener. While successfully entertaining, a Costello fan might have hoped for a bit more from Nieve, perhaps the florid reading of Accidents from Live At Hollywood High or that fantastic new arrangement of Temptation that opened the Beacon shows in August. Then again, it was Nieve's show, not an Attractions set, so one imagines Nieve probably wanted a break from pounding out Pump It Up night after night. He concluded by singing a more straightforward song, Pieces Of You, with lyrics about a person wanting to eat the fingernail pairings and sloughedoff skin of a lover, rather reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock. Despite the small turnout, the audience reacted in an overwhelmingly favorable way.
Afterwards, at the bar, I managed to chat with Nieve for a few moments. When asked about the names of the pieces, he said that they didn't really have titles yet. He graciously, however, borrowed my notebook and jotted down a few of the titles of the older themes that he played. He did mention that these shows resembled the ones he had played at the Meltdown Festival in England. Asked if he was going to tour elsewhere, he said he had organized the shows himself, and he was looking for a circuit of similar places to play. Just then, a photographer hustled him off before I could ask about the latest Costello album, or how other people could put themselves on his mailing list. Nevertheless, the show was a great preChristmas gift from Steve Nieve to the handful of New Yorkers who braved the cold.

Copyright © 1996 Beyond Belief - The Elvis Costello Newsletter

Issue 5 - February 1996

For reasons that remain unclear, Steve Nieve changed the spelling of his surname to Naïve, on the cover of It’s Raining Somewhere. Steve Nieve began his career in 1977 as keyboard player with Elvis Costello and the Attractions. His signature sound, the Vox organ led many of Costello’s early compositions. Nieve’s extensive classical training made him an excellent fit for much of Costello's increasingly ambitious post-Attractions music. The pair remain active collaborators to the present day.

It’s raining somewhere. This is the moment for the rain, somewhere. Here an invisible rain that brings calm to the child who is searching for drowsiness. Here the strong fall of a grey water on the cracked earth. Here a little drop on the word someone has just written and the ink clears, and the sense grows dark, but ……….too late, the writer no longer has the desire to tell something.

Extract from “Il Pleut Quel Que Part” by Muriel Teodori



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