|>Jazz was always made to make any music around it swing. This Tradition lives on here. The Talents of Dick Hyman and Bernd Lhotzky have achieved an extraordinary performance in this specifically pianistic jazz style. The complete set of these recordings, solos as well as duos, is a total success! A real treat! In addition the technical quality of the piano recordings is remarkable.<
>'Stridin' the Classics' harks back to a popular-music tradition of the Thirties and Forties: Jazz improvisation on classical themes, which I suspect is as old as the art form itself, if we are to take the claims that staples of the New Orleans repertoire first emerged as themes heard at the opera house. When we read of piano masters James P. Johnson, Eubie Blake, and the young Fats Waller going to hear classical recitals, we also understand the Jazz impulse at work here, and their contemporaries Donald Lambert and Joe Turner made wonderful recordings based on classical themes. With delicious melodies and inherent drama (or melodrama) they lent themselves to showy but exact piano improvisations. And the range is indeed broad, with the source material coming from Tschaikovsky, Brahms, Kreisler, Grieg, Chopin, Flotow, Wagner, and Mozart. I imagine the Masters grinning.
The musicianship here is at a spectacularly high level. Not only are Hyman and Lhotzky flawless players as inventive soloists, able to create what James P. called “a trick a minute,” they mesh wonderfully as a team, and each one obviously has a deep understanding and affection for the melodic and harmonic depths of the original pieces. This and the other three discs also are delightful evocations of the limitless possibilities of medium tempo: stride extravaganzas often become contests of exhaustion, relying on volume and speed to decide a victor. Not here: the keynote is a spacious elegance, and the playing is more sophisticated harmonically than one might have heard uptown in 1936. Both Hyman and Lhotzky are deadpan humorists as well, so connoisseurs of the style will hear a thousand in-jokes and small affectionate homages to other pianists and famous arrangements of the material.<
CADENCE MAGAZINE, Michael Steinman
5. von 5 Sternen | Ein neuer Stern aus München:
>Da denkt man neben Dick Hyman und Ralph Sutton kommt erst einmal nichts im Genre Harlem Stride Piano, Aber man wird hier eines Besseren belehrt. Bernd Lhotzky stellt sich als wahrer Virtuose heraus, der ebenbürtig neben die o.g. Namen gesetzt werden darf. Der 35jährige Deutsche begeistert mit seinem Spiel, aber das sollte sich jeder selber anhören! Eine MUST HAVE CD !<