Stride piano pioneer James P. Johnson had dreams of becoming a successful symphonic composer.
February 1, 2013 The man who wrote "The Charleston" also had orchestral music played at Carnegie Hall. Baltimore Symphony conductor Marin Alsop retraces her detective work in uncovering lost symphonic works by jazz piano pioneer James P. Johnson.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/170864270/170923258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Fats Waller seemed to pack 10 lifetimes of fun into his 39 years on the planet.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive
April 12, 2010 Born out of Harlem in the 1920s, stride pianists took the basic left-hand "oompah" rhythm of ragtime, but played it with more swing and complexity, while the right hand played the melody and the ever-increasing improvisations upon it. Read and hear a five-song introduction to a style that travels great distances up and down the keyboard.
August 1, 2001 James P. Johnson was sometimes called the "perfecter" of stride piano, the difficult piano form where the left hand "strides" up and down between bass notes and chords, while the right hand plays the melody. This album captures his agility with the technique.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/4541412/150768726" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor