September
15th 2011
PHOTOS & RECAP: Dalton Ridenhour at Small’s (9/15/11)

Posted under Live shows

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

I met pianist Dalton Ridenhour through a mutual friend a couple weeks ago. As soon as he told me he played stride piano, I asked him to make sure to let me know when he was playing. I happened to be in town for tonight’s gig and had a chance to see Dalton — and some friends — take the crowd at Small’s on a tour through jazz piano history.

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

Ridenhour has a great ear for melodies. He mostly played immediately recognizable tunes — “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” or “Alberta, Alberta” — but he sprinkled in some pieces that were new to me such as “Cryin’ For The Carolines” and a James P. Johnson tune that I think was called “Riffs.” Throughout the set, Ridenhour showed not only a mastery of the piano, but a real sense for pacing and flow and for the general shape of a song. His improvisations were fluid and interesting, which was particularly impressive given the harmonic and rhythmic rules imposed by the genre.

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

Twice during the set, Ridenhour featured vocalist Mara Kaye, who belted out “Sugar In My Bowl” and “Any Kind of Man” and slunk her way through “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.” She had a strong and very anachronistic voice that perfectly fit the music. (Although it was sometimes a little more than the sound system could handle.) She’s definitely someone I’ll watch for around her native Brooklyn.

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

Trombonist Dan Reitz was a nice addition to two of the last three tunes.

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

Ridenhour is a talented player. I’ll be seeing him again. If you’d like to be transported back in time to hear piano music from a bygone — but still very fresh and alive — age, you should see him, too.

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

From Dalton Ridenhour & Friends at Small's – 9/15/11

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “PHOTOS & RECAP: Dalton Ridenhour at Small’s (9/15/11)”

  1. John R on 16 Sep 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for such a nice recap of a great show. Dalton’s sense of narrative and soul is superlative. The special guest on trombone was the one and only Dan Reitz, by the way.

  2. Bonnie Ridenhour on 08 Oct 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Dear Jason, Thank you so much for the wonderful interview with Dalton. He sent me the interview to my email…. I so appreciate getting to listen to not only his performances but also any other recordings that have to do with his great talent! I just wish I could be in NYC to hear him and his brother, Wade, at their performances while they are HAPPENIN’!

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