Piano gems on the tube

This is not about instruments in the Underground/subway, but piano music found on youtube. There is a Swedish somewhat un-modern expression "ta det piano", literally "take it piano", meaning "take it easy". But I digress.

The following is not CC or public domain music, but can be listened to freely, at least at the time of writing. And nothings stops you from buying the CD's or whatever. All the musicians and composers are dead, so who gets the pay? But I digress.

Piano isn't my favorite instrument, but in the past few days, I found myself listening to it more than usual. Here goes:

Vladimir Horowitz performing Mozart's Sonata in C Major K. 330 in Moscow, 1986. That was his first visit to the Soviet Union since the 1920's, when he defected. Watching him holding his hands so low at the keyboard is interesting to watch. Not the classic norm. There are also movements 2 and 3. Beautiful.

Arthur Rubinstein performing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It has probably been recorded a zillion times. Rubinstein plays the first movement very softly and sensitively, other performances are often a bit harder, or moody. He makes it sound almost happy. Please listen to all three movements. The contrast between the first and third is amazing, how he makes they sound so different and still "together".

Art Tatum, admired not only by jazz pianists, but also by e.g. Horowitz, Rubinstein and Rachmaninoff, had a fantastic technique, and it can be mind boggling listening to him. I used to find his playing overly "decorative", but I have come to enjoy him. He is like no other. Listen e.g. to Tea for Two, which as a bonus, has some quite amusing comments.

Bud Powell, the greatest (be)bop style pianist, had both technique, swing and intensity to his music. Tempus Fugit, his own composition. 1949.

The last piece linked in this post, is with a piano trio, but that is really the only standard thing about it. An unsual combination of three giants in jazz: Duke Ellington, who rarely performed in smaller groups, and of course is mostly known as composer, arranger and bandleader, on piano; Charles Mingus on bass, and Max Roach on drums. It is recorded in 1962, an era of jazz and improvisation music that was very dynamic, and saw a few recordings of mixing generations, like this one, Money Jungle from the album of the same name. The common denominator of the three, in my opinion, is that they were leaders, innovators, highly influential, but at the same time, not typical of their times. Three highly creative music makers. The trio is also very "democratic", all three are up front, so to speak.

There, five different ways and contexts to make music with piano, solo or in group.