The new issue of musicworks, which some kind person sends me regularly from Toronto, has an evocative profile, by Monica Pearce, of the American-Canadian composer Linda Catlin Smith, whose spare, crystalline music has found an international audience in recent years, thanks in great measure to the British label another timbre. The composer and author Allen Shawn, who taught Smith in high school, describes her early efforts: “I felt from the very first encounter that she was a composer. The connection between her and the notes she put down was so deep . . . She meant what she wrote, and she heard it and she felt it, and she needed it. That connection was the manifestation of a part of her that was essential, that she had to put on paper; and to me, that’s a composer.”
Jazz piano doesn’t come more exciting that the stride masters of Harlem. The likes of James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie the Lion Smith set a standard for keyboard heroics that reached its peak in the breathtaking virtuosity of Art Tatum. Especially for Radio 3’s piano season, Geoffrey Smith salutes the giants of stride.