Sunday, 26 September 2010

Don't shoot the piano player, or even The Player Piano.....

We have just had a rather bizarre but nonetheless wonderful weekend.

Our chum Tom, who owns The Last Alvis, asked us over to a party at his place last night.

Tom is blind. He lives in a beautiful 18th century rectory. He runs the Cambridge Pianola Company.

He also has a superb collection of fine Alvis cars, which is, er, where we came in....

We went along last night to listen to some great renditions of late ragtime and early jazz music.

Nothing particularly unusual there, I suppose, provided you have a talented pianist and the relevant sheet music.

Unusual, then, in the sense that neither were present, yet the evening was a great success.

Yes, we were treated to an evening of music by the likes of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, and many of their less famous but equally talented colleagues, brought to us, kind of ghostly, via the magic of the player piano and pianola rolls which were originally cut between ninety and one hundred years ago.

Actually, the device in use wasn't a player piano, but a much rarer 'piano player'. It works on the same principle of vacuum actuated keys, but is bolted up to an ordinary (in this case, Bechstein, so perhaps 'ordinary' isn't right...) piano, which it then 'plays'.


Today, we returned to The Old Rectory for the Last Barbecue of 2010.

Fitting, then, that I should have the honour of bringing The Last Alvis out of its armoured bunker and on to The Queen's Highway and over to Tom's place for an Alvis Owner Club/ Alvis Register/ Pianola Enthusiast/ Quaker meeting House/ Everyone Else Jamboree in honour of Tom's birthday.

What a lovely Day!

Only wish The Ducks, and Mike P-J, who we know well, and Mortimer Bones, Maffi, Jim and Sarah, and Halfie, who we've yet to meet, could have made it along, as it was lots of fun and I think they'd have enjoyed the truly eclectic mix of people and interests!

1 comment:

  1. My Dad had a cassette recording (remember those?) of Scott Joplin playing ragtime which had been recorded from a player piano playing rolls that Joplin had recorded. It wasn't a great tape but I love it as a kid...