Pianist Neil Alexander Releases New Album
American pianist and composer Neil Alexander has a new album titled Darn That Dream. It is Alexander’s solo album of pure piano music. “This is my first solo piano offering with no treatments, no synthesizers… basically nothing to hide behind,” he tells VOA’s Music Beat in an interview.
The title is a throwback to the good old days of Broadway musical theater, when Louis Armstrong sang “Darn That Dream” in the musical “Swingin’ the Dream,” in 1939.
It is also a reminder of other jazz icons like Mildred Bailey, Doris Day, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and others who versioned it.
Neil Alexander has different renditions of “Darn That Dream” on piano. “It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite songs from the jazz singers’ repertoire,” he said. “I have done various arrangements of it, and it was good on this recording to get back to the basics as it were.”
Darn That Dream showcases 11 tracks, including six original songs. “About half of those are improvisations. They were recorded in the studio, sort of created on the spur of the moment,” he said.
Alexander is working on “Darn That Dream” Vol. 2, which will include some great classics.
“What I’m going to feature on Vol. 2 is something that I’m currently touring, which is my own personal piano transcription of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring,” says Alexander.
“Rite of Spring” is a famous classical composition by the Russian-born classical piano legend Igor Stravinsky. It premiered in Paris in 1913 under the title “Le Sacre du Printemps.”
“Now with the 100th anniversary, I’m touring this piece as much as possible. I have shows coming up on the West Coast (of the United States),” said Alexander. “That’s what’s going to be featured on Vol. 2, along with a wonderful piece by George Gershwin called Lullaby for Springs, which I have also transcribed for solo piano.”
Vol. 2 will be released by the end of this year.