Right from the first notes to the very last this is Arthur’s tribute to New Orleans music, (deliberate or accidental) particularly the piano players that have recently shaped and changed his playing. A major shift from his first disc, which was a much mellower piece of work that was more straight ahead blues orientated, this disc is much more boogie-woogie . “Pumping Ivories” also shows a huge shift in his focus and his playing style . This disc is homage to piano playing legends that helped shape the New Orleans sound we all know and love, luminaries such as James Booker, Professor Longhair (AKA Henry Byrd), and Fats Domino . These players played with that force and intensity that brought the piano to the forefront of the band, or as Arthur says in his notes, “I had one particular theme in mind: MUSCLE.“
Look at the song list, which contains some of the standard benchmarks of New Orleans R & B/boogie-woogie piano; songs such as Junko Partner, Rockin’ Pneumonia, and the legendary Tipitina. These are cuts which any aspiring R & B, boogie-woogie piano player must not only play, but also master to be even considered a piano player in the Crescent City. But no, Arthur doesn’t live anywhere near that humid hot bed of rhythm, but in the sun baked, arid air of the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, AZ. No, he is not some wizened old man who has been thumping the ivories for years, but rather a young fresh faced kid (as seen by these more than half century old eyes) of about 25, give or take a year or two . No matter the physical age he has shown major growth in the past few years and is now playing many years beyond his actual age and if this growth spurt continues (it definitely shouldn’t let up as he is playing in a band with bass legend Harvey Brooks) he is going to be a man playing the ivories to be reckoned with.
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