Saturday, June 09, 2012

BOB ALLEN'S PIANO MUSIC



A year ago I wrote a musical tribute to “Pianist Bob Allen – Master Musician.”  Some of you who commented then had asked questions about Bob's medical challenges which I'll answer here.  Meanwhile, here's an encore performance of Bob's magnificent arrangement of “One Less Bell to Answer” in his inimitable piano style.  


The good news is that Bob Allen has released a recording of the music from Jesus Christ Superstar he arranged as a suite in the early 1970s.  The music was requested as many as two or three times each night while he was performing at Columbus’ Christopher Inn -- the place to be then in Columbus, Ohio.  The suite is still being requested according to his website.  (Before then, when we left Columbus, my husband had played acoustic bass accompanying Bob .)   

Here's Bob talking about one of his most requested arrangements that he recorded:



Bob Allen presents the suite, Jesus Christ, Superstar, that can be downloaded for a modest amount from this link to his website: Bob Allen Trio.    I'm sharing this information about Bob’s suite being available for purchase, which I don't usually do on this blog, because I’ve always greatly appreciated the music this talented artist creates.  Also, he and his music have special personal significance to me as I’ve previously written.  Additionally, I admire his continuing dedication to share his talent despite the roadblocks presented by health problems.  Even the best of us at any age encountering the health and financial issues with which Bob has been coping would be challenged, especially during these times.  

By way of review  --  a special “Pianos for Bob” concert occurred in Columbus featuring 12 of Central Ohio’s best piano players early last year with the musicians and the community rallying to Bob’s support.  He had experienced a major life challenge with medical issues beginning “... around 2003, when he underwent heart-bypass surgery.  Diabetes and circulatory problems followed,” as Joe Blundo, wrote in an excellent article for the Columbus Dispatch, a major Ohio newspaper.  

Bob’s wife of six years, Mickey, is quoted by Blundo as observing her husband’s “stubborn” nature influencing his unwillingness to use a walker, except at home, as his physical condition declined.  He wasn’t using that walker six years ago when he generously played at my husband’s celebration of life, or later that evening when his jazz group played at the Hyde Park Steak House in Upper Arlington where his trio played regularly in recent years.  Eventually, Bob, blind since birth, had both legs amputated.  His positive attitude and adaptation is attributed to his resilience as Blundo reported.  

Overcoming the physical deficits here’s a video of Bob Allen playing with a specially created device to enable him to use one of the three piano pedals – the most important sustain pedal.  Specifics about the design of this piece of adaptive equipment are provided in an interesting article by creator  Rick Brunetto at Bob's website. 

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Rick aspired to working with Bob, a goal achieved by this young jazz musician in 1974.  He performed and recorded with Bob for over 13 years before joining the faculty of Denison University, a private Ohio institution which in my youth I had always hoped I could attend but events evolved differently.  

Brunetto writes extensively about his friend and mentor, describing efforts to provide Bob much needed support. Rick initiated a 12 pianist musical tribute during the critical recovery time following Bob’s below-the-knee leg amputations.  The lengthy recovery, loss of income and special housing needs necessitated that Bob sell his home to move to a one level accommodation.  Marketing his home in the prevailing housing climate was less than ideal.   I'm sure community support has been greatly appreciated. 

Bob is, hopefully, continuing to create his original compositions and special musical interpretations while successfully adapting to aging adjustments, health changes and the financial challenges of this economy.  

   
 

10 comments:

  1. When friend Patty moved into the Retirement home, she took her piano with her. I noticed they had a piano in the foyer of the building for any passing person to play, but I suppose having your own is important to a pianist.

    Love JC Superstar. Our Church School classes performed it and that's where I first saw it. Dianne

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  2. Any professional musician certainly wants their own instrument as do others -- a very personal relationship. A key element for pianists, including the non-professional, playing pop to classical music is to have a finely tuned instrument wherever they play. Pianos in a lot of settings, including some where professional musicians are asked or hired to play, haven't received the regular tuning and care needed -- especially if many different people and children are pounding on them. I think one reason why keyboards have become popular is they're small, transportable, which grand and studio pianos aren't but not of comparable sound quality to a piano in my opinion.

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  3. Hi Joared, thanks for the visit to holtieshouse, you're always welcome.

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Peter. You're welcome to visit any time.

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  4. I repeat what Peter said...thanks for visiting my blog and I loved listening to Bob's piano renditions. Also, I read back a bit on your blog and thoroughly agree with your political "I do want..." list...especially getting the people elected by US to remember that and to work together for a change.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Ginnie. You're welcome to return any time.

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  5. I always admired George Shearing for his ability to keep performing even though he was blind. He remains my favorite pianist. Now I will have to add Bob Allen to my list of favorites. He has certainly overcome so much more than blindness and is an inspiration. He is a courageous person and deserves all the help he gets.

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    1. George Shearing is a favorite of mine, too, and a friend of Bob's.

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  6. Wonderful music from an inspirational musician.

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  7. thanks for sharing.

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