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Recent CD/DVD Releases
Cy Walter's Rodgers Revisited album has been released on CD by the Collectable label. Originally issued by Atlantic Records in 1956, this album is considered by many to be one of Cy's finest, and showcases Cy's love for Rodgers' music and the two musicians' life-long collaborations.
For more information :
THE PARK AVENUE TATUM
Read The Downbeat Magazine Review of The Park Avenue Tatum from their February 2007 issue.
Due to the concerted efforts of Alex Hassan and others, a terrific disc entitled "The Park Avenue Tatum: Cy Walter Piano Solos+" has been released by the British label, Shellwood. This CD is available from Shellwood's website. The Walter family is hopeful that much more of Cy Walter's recorded music will soon be re‑released commercially in CDs produced in America, and will keep you posted as these efforts progress to happy fruition.
Two Grands Four Hands
TWO GRANDS, FOUR HANDS
Spectacular and Rare Novelty Piano Duos of the 1920s and 1930s
The piano duo of Cy Walter and Gil Bowers are included on this new CD compilation of Novetly Piano Duos of the 1920s and 1930s by Rivermont. The selections were compiled and annotated by Alex Hassan, a Falls Church, Virginia-based pianist who is perhaps the world's foremost expert on the Novelty Piano era of the early Twentieth Century, and include two Walter/Bowers medleys. Check out the Rivermont website and our CD section for more information.
Lars Boye Jensen, a talented pianist from Denmark, has just released the first-ever CD consisting entirely of Cy Walter's arrangements as played by another performer.
Containing Cy's arrangements of composers such
as Arlen, Rodgers, Porter, and Gershwin, to name
a few, Lars' beautiful performances of these unique
Cy Walter transcriptions are sure to delight!
The CD is available on Lars' website (click here),
Amazon.com (click here), and on
Ebay (search "Cy Walter").
Read the Liner Notes for Isn't It Romantic written by Mark Walter
Richard Glazier will soon be releasing a new DVD of his narrating (with his pianistic performances liberally interspersed) a chronological journey through the Golden Age of American Popular Song. Entitled "From Gershwin to Garland", Richard's musical sojourn will be airing on PBS stations throughout the country, and will include his playing of Cy Walter's arrangement of "Body and Soul". After 15 March 2010, the DVD will be available for purchase at www.richardglazier.com .
Mark Walter, son of Cy Walter, was interviewed on Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired Radio Show between Feb 10 and Feb 16. Tune in and hear Mark talk about his father, the web site, the music and more.
Visit Jazz Inspired
On February 13, 2007, an Alec Wilder Centennial event was held at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Pianists Tony Caramia and Bill Dobbins, among other musicians, peformed; as did Soprano Karen Holvik. The first of these MP3s has Tony Caramia and Karen Holvik performing Cy Walter's "Time and Tide"; the second has Tony Caramia performing Cy's 1965 arrangement of Alec Wilder's "While We're Young" as well as Bill Dobbins' 2004 arrangement of the same song (also performed by Tony Caramia). Listen to the performances here.
PUBLICATION: Michael Kanan has published an article about Cy Walter in Jazz Buttletti, a Catalan-language, Barcelona, Spain magazine. You can read the original in PDF format or you can read the translation here.
Cam Walter LaGennusa
After a long battle with lung cancer, Cam Walter LaGennusa, Cy's widow, passed away at age 78 on 20 October 2010. Cam was the most wonderful mother for which a son could hope, and was, as more fully explained in the "About This Site" page, the ultimate savior, protector, and progenitor of the materials shared here. Before her marriage to Cy and her subsequent homemaker and parenting roles, Cam was a professional model in New York City. Cam was also a true cabaret professional, a discerning connoisseur of the wonderful music, people, and places that this unique art form engenders. In this context, she was familiar with almost all of the luminaries of the New York City Café Society world, counting as her close friends artists such as Mabel Mercer, Alec Wilder, Bart Howard, George Shearing, Bobby Short, along with many others. Cam was truly proud of Cy's musical genius, and in a crucial sense exhibited her love for him and his artistry by carefully retaining all the amazing materials about Cy's career and world which the Walter family is now privileged to share on this site.
Cam is survived by her husband of over three decades, Joseph LaGennusa; her daughters, Victoria and Daphne; her son, Mark; and her grandson, Christian. Cam's family and friends deeply mourn her passing, and are planning a memorial service to be held in the future. Should anyone have any memories of Cam that they may wish to share with other visitors to this site, please send them by e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Quotes On Cy Walter
"[Cy Walter] played primarily in hotels and nightclubs, but he was no less talented than Tatum or Horowitz. So as far as I'm concerned, he ranks among the very best of any pianist of any order".
Michael Feinstein, American Popular Songbook preservationist, pianist, cabaret performer, and Cy Walter fan
"One night Nol Coward and I went to hear your father play. Nol's reaction to Cy's artistry was conveyed in his awed comment to me, "What a masterful command of his instrument he has!!!'"
As related to Mark Walter, Cy's son, by actress Marian Seldes, during a 2010 Mabel Mercer Foundation/Noël Coward Foundation Award Competition event held at the New York City National Arts Club.
Richard Cameron-Wolfe Blogs Cy
Richard Cameron-Wolfe, a Taos, New Mexico musician with an NPR radio program that mostly presents classical music, wrote the following excerpt from an article entitled "Confessions of a Clash-ical DJ". Orignially published in the May, 2007 Taos, New Mexico "Daily Horse Fly" newspaper, the piece describes his experience in playing various composers' music, and focuses in part on the phone calls received in reaction to his choices. The passage below encapsulizes the enigma inherent in attempting to categorize or label Cy Walter's musical style:
Improvisations by the legendary cocktail jazz pianist Cy Walter followed. One heard familiar manifestations of melody, harmony, and rhythm, contrasting themes, etc., but ... another phone call. Not "classical" enough for the classical connoisseurs. Problem: not jazzy enough for the jazzers. A man without a niche, without a marketing label, without a record store bin. Walter did what the great historical improvisers (Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt) had done, only his "themes" were show tunes instead of opera arias. Give a listen and see what you think, at www.cywalter.com.
Check out Richard Cameron-Wolfe's myspace page for the balance of the article.
Paul James Lewis Plays Cy
Paul James Lewis is a classical pianist living in Chicago, who has been the Principal Company/Performance Pianist for The Chicago Joffrey Ballet since 2002. Paul describes himself as "mainly a perfomer not a composer", playing music written in the last hundred years. Paul has a special fondness for ragtime and piano music from the 1910's - 1940's, listing his favorite composers as being: Maurice Ravel, Leos Janacek, Ernesto Lecuona, Charles Griffes, Cyril Scott, Claude Debussy, Billy Mayerl, Rube Bloom, Dana Suesse, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Lothar Perl, Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, James Scott, and several others. Paul has recently included on his "MySpace" page his performance of Cy Walter's "Isn't It Romantic?"
Cy Walter, the Rachmaninoff of the lounge pianists
by Paul James Lewis
I've just put up a new file of my playing an arrangement by Cy Walter of a Richard Rodgers song, "Isn't It Romantic?". Cy Walter was an amazing piano stylist of the 40's and 50's and played the best lounge rooms in the New York hotels. His technique was astonishing, yet never let the melody be washed away by improvisation or over-embellishment. I sometimes think of him as the Rachmaninoff of the cocktail pianists. Enjoy!
The Story So Far - Stephen Sondheim 4-CD Set Released
Previously-Unreleased Cy Walter and Stan Freeman Performance of Stephen Sondheim's "I Must Be Dreaming" released on 30 September 2008 and now in stores.
Sony BMG Masterworks is proud to announce the release of Stephen Sondheim: The Story So Far, a comprehensive four CD box set with a playing time of over four and a half hours devoted to the entire career of the legendary Broadway songwriter. The box, the first of its kind, was released September 30, 2008.
For more information and track listing check out the American Theater Web.
In the new issue of the Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Craig Carnelia, asks Stephen Sondheim: "What was the first moment you saw something of yours really work in a theater?"
SS: It must have been in college. This is not really the answer to your question, but if you said to me, 'What's your first emotional memory of hearing something you'd written?' I'd reply that I wrote a song in college called 'I Must Be Dreaming,' a love song, for an adaptation of BEGGAR ON HORSEBACK. My father often went to the Barbary Room to hear Cy Walters and Stan Freeman play two pianos. He got a copy of the song to them, and they played it on WNEW, and I heard the broadcast. I was all alone. I went up to the Hammersteins', a five-story townhouse between 5th and Madison. The house was empty, and this was the hilarious neurotic thing I did: I was there all alone, and I turned on the radio and I sat under a table to listen to it. I don't think we need to go any farther into the psychological implications of that, but I sat under the table and felt so proud. That's what I remember. I still have a recording of that broadcast.
EVENT:Vince Giordano and his Nighthawks
Monday and Tuesday Evenings
Club Cache at the Hotel Edison
221 West 46th St.
Starting May 5th, VINCE GIORDANO AND HIS HIGHTHAWKS ORCHESTRA will be appearing on Broadway, for three sets every Monday and Tuesday eve from 8:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M., at Sofia's Restaurant, Club Cache (Downstairs) at the Edison Hotel, 221 West 46th Street (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue); reservations call 212-719-5799. Dining and Dancing To Music of the 1920s and 1930s, superbly performed by a maestro of the genre and his superlative eleven-piece orchestra. In 30 years as a bandleader, Vince Giordano has become the authority on recreating the sounds of 1920s and '30s jazz and popular music. "I just love the energy of the early jazz," says Giordano. "I wanted to recapture some of that." Early Girodano appearances included working with Leon Redbone and on The Prairie Home Companion; as well as Vince's lending his talents to Francis Ford Coppola's film, The Cotton Club. These led Vince to working with Dick Hyman's Orchestra in half a dozen Woody Allen soundtracks, then as a bass player in Sean Penn's band in Woody's Sweet and Lowdown. Vince and band were featured in Gus Van Sant's film, Finding Forrester; in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator; in Robert DeNiro's film, The Good Shepherd; and, most recently, in Sam Mendes' upcoming film: Revolutionary Road. Also a big-band historian and collector, Giordano has more than 30,000 scores in his collection. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are renowned on the New York scene for their commitment to preserving and authentically presenting 1920s jazz and popular music.
Visit Vince Giordano and His Nighthawk Orchestra's MySpace Page!
Alex Hassan, a tremendously-talented Northern Virginia pianist whose forte includes novelty piano of the 20s and 30s, had a central role in the creation and release of the Shellwood "Cy Walter: The Park Avenue Tatum" CD. At the time of the CD's release, Alex shared his thoughts on Cy's artistry and on the CD with others in an e-mail forwarded to the "78-L" internet forum
Read his letter here
VISIT THE EVENT ARCHIVE
A WORD FROM PETER MINTUN
ABOUT CY WALTER'S WEB SITE
Even though I am thoroughly biased, the [Cy Walter] web site is the most
detailed and spectacular biographical site I have ever seen. I
devoured each available page and it was as if I had the exclusive
privilege of going through the personal affects of this great
musician. It is apparent you have devoted nearly every waking moment
to the preservation of your father's music. I hope others will
appreciate it as much as I. Perhaps the Minnesota Historical Society
should be linked to this site. ... [T]hanks for the preview. This is monumental!
New York, New York
30 March 2006
Cy Walter and Gil Bowers -- Circa late 1930s (then a two-piano team)