Sunday June 28, 2020
WHAT????? —-Pianist Alex Hassan AGAIN????
Yes, Alex once again offers his twenty fingers (result of nuclear test site irradiation-very useful!), certain to entertain his captive audience, shut-in friends, acquaintances, and anyone else dial-twisting. The menu of pianistic confections will include a tribute to Santa Barbaran pianist-composer, Robin Frost, who passed away a few months ago, aged 90. Robin wrote in an unforgettably melodic, toe-tappingly rhythmic, and inimitably virtuoso style. This is the first time Alex is daring to play several of these pieces in public, and he hopes for divine intervention. Also on the program, a couple of memorable 1940s transcribed jazz solos by American pianist, Joe Sullivan, a medley of romantic to uptempo songs by brilliant Tin Pan Alley pianist/songwriter, Rube Bloom (ie., Fools Rush In), and a Grand Fantasy on the delightful melodies heard in 1930s Warner Bros. cartoons. Yup! A Grand Fantasy on Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies!
As in previous concerts, Alex will provide, between numbers, anecdotes, historical context, and, most importantly, shtick.
F U L L P R O G R A M
“Knuckle Busters” by I.M.N. Payne
“Finger Frustrators” by Needa Lotty Lucke
“Digit Dilemmas” by Kent Hoit, Bud Duzz
“Wrist Wrenchers” by Hedda Quitte
“Dexterity Distressers” by Ima Stoppenau
Alex Hassan has been in total immersion 1920s/30s Tin Pan Alley Popular Piano Styles therapy for over 40 years. A pupil of a pupil of a pupil of a pupil of Franz Liszt (well…it SOUNDS impressive?!), he has been a torchbearer for the melodies of between-the-wars Broadway and Hollywood (and European equivalents), devoting himself more specifically to collecting and resurrecting the great “late Romantic with a beat” popular songs that really never had a chance.
His archival collection of [mostly] popular piano solo and vocal sheet music numbers around 45,000 titles, entirely 1920s/30s. It is a tribute to those heady musical times that there is still so much left to find.
Alex has performed internationally at such venues as England’s Aldeburgh Festival, Husum (2007 & 2015–“Piano Rarities Festival”), Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, the Coolidge Auditorium (Library of Congress), various Manhattan/Baltimore/Washington night spots, and national ragtime festivals. He has recorded prolifically for England’s SHELLWOOD PRODUCTIONS, Los Angeleno label OPERETTA ARCHIVES, and Pennsylvania’s STOMP OFF, and has produced/annotated several reissues of the virtuoso popular pianists of the 78RPM period, for both Shellwood and the Pittsburgh company, RIVERMONT (for which he has also recorded, along with two brilliant singing friends).