Message from Veneto .. March 12, 2020

Riccardo Scivales photo by Mauro Parenzan

Hi Becca, I hope you are well, and sorry for my delay in replying in detail. I too am worried – last night on TV they said that unfortunately there are a thousand infected in New York. We are fine, even if the situation is not easy here. Yesterday in our region (Veneto) they counted 1027 infected and 29 dead. We must remain as closed as possible at home, and from today the government has decided to close all shops, factories and offices that are not indispensable (such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, etc.). Schools are closed, and the music schools where I teach piano have been temporarily closed since last week. We pray that all this will end soon. And since we have to stay at home, let’s try to play and listen to as much good music as possible! A hug and a warm greeting to you and your loved ones!

James P. Johnson . Willie “The Lion” Smith . Thomas “Fats” Waller . Joe Turner . Eubie Blake . Dick Wellstood & more! Transcribed by Riccardo Scivales

Back in 1990 Ekay Music published pianist Riccardo Scivales’s loving and accurate transcriptions of 26 classic Harlem Stride solos from the 1920s and 30s, originally documented on piano rolls and early recordings. Scivales was the first to transcribe many of these challenging, exuberant pieces. Think “Carolina Shout” by James P. Johnson and “Smashing Thirds” by Fats Waller.

Harlem Stride could be a life’s work, but from his keyboards in the Venice area, Riccardo also passionately leads the Prog Rock Band Quanah Parker (named for the Comanche chief) and just finished a piano arrangement of “La Scala” from The Symphonic Ellington album, to be played “as soon as normal life starts again.”

Dear Lord, may that day come quickly!

ADDENDUM: From Italy Riccardo has added to this blog post, with a comment about his love for Progressive Rock for its “Beauty, Poetry and Imagination,” and why he named his band for a Comanche chief about whom most Americans know little. Riccardo is a tireless musical explorer. To read his words and link to some music, click on the “comment” link at the top of this post. You will be rewarded.

2 thoughts on “Message from Veneto .. March 12, 2020”

  1. Hi Becca,
    Many people ask me why I called my Progressive Rock band “Quanah Parker” (first active in 1981-1985, and then re-founded in 2006). I have always been fascinated by the history of Native Americans, and one day, leafing through a book on them, I was very impressed by a photograph of Quanah Parker, that is the last great Comanche chief In that photo, his gaze expressed a very strong personality, and it also seemed to me that his name sounded good for a band. (The photo I am referring to is the large one on the right here:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=quanah+parker+photo&rlz=1C1AVFC_enIT887IT887&sxsrf=ALeKk00xX1BBNA3lMgPyxMpsjCXhhTmBkg:1584404917022&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjbpomioKDoAhVQl4sKHXCHDeAQ_AUoAXoECAsQAw#imgrc=D-OZ5FHCqDJu9M ).

    And there was also another important reason for choosing this name. After its great success in the years 1969-1975, in 1981 Progressive Rock (i.e. the music I loved and with which I grew up) was terribly out of date, because it had been supplanted by other genres of music that I found trivial and gave me no emotion. As a boy, on the Pop’n’Rock side I had grown up listening to the great music of The Beatles, Deep Purple and above all the legendary Prog bands of the Seventies (like Yes, Genesis, EmersonLake & Palmer, Ekseption, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Jethro Tull, etc.), with their fantastic pianists / keyboardists such as Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Tony Banks, Rick Van Der Linden, etc. The new musical genres of the late Seventies and Eighties (Punk, New Wave, Dance, Disco Music, etc.) really had no appeal to me. Hence the choice of the name of a Red Indian chief warrior, who wanted to symbolize my rebellion against those new musical genres that I didn’t like.

    Many years have passed since then, and although I have always tried to listen to the various Pop and Rock genres and keep myself updated, I have not changed my mind (except for very rare exceptions, such as some great solo albums by Sting). Therefore, I often return to Prog music and its magic, with its Beauty, Poetry and Imagination, the technical skills and the creativity of its masters, its odd meters and exciting changes of time and atmosphere, its splendid texts and fantastic scenarios, its powerful blend of rock, classic, jazz, folk elements, its rich instrumentation, its frequent coexistence of composition and improvisation, and so on. The name “Quanah Parker” wants to symbolize all this. (And for those who may be interested, Quanah Parker’s biography is truly unusual and fascinating.)

    (All this talk, of course, does not concern Jazz and the great Latin music–as well as classical, Celtic and world music–, which I have always continued to love!)

    Many thanks for this question, Becca, many congratulations on your beautiful blog, and a very special thanks for your wonderful and precious work as Editor of the magazine “The Piano Stylist & Jazz Workshop”, which was so important and exciting for me!

    Love from Italy, and my best wishes for a good continuation!

    Riccardo
    http://www.riccardoscivales.com

    For those interested, below here some of QUANAH PARKER’s live performances:
    “Flight” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdqQ-f0YsYA
    “Danza di un Mattino”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEJwuKO_14A
    “Sailor Song”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXJ7-Q0Tkd0
    “A Big Francesco”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2o2oQtK2L8
    “Intrada”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiVFTcFYyNM
    “Per le Scale”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJRoYD1lnjY
    “Dancing Lights of Animale Multiforme”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtcBpUQtd_8

    and a beautiful review to our third album (live DVD&CD) “A Big Francesco – Live at Festival Rock Progressive 2016-2018” (Ma.Ra.Cash Records MRC079, 2019): https://musicarockprogresivo.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/quanah-parker-a-big-francesco-album-review/ 🙂
    Many thanks to musicarockprogresivo and all the reviewers of our albums, and… Prog on! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Hello friends,
    This is Riccardo again! 🙂 Following my previous comment, below here is the current line-up (as to 2020) of us Quanah Parker:
    Riccardo Scivales – keyboards, composition
    Meghi Moschino – voice
    Valentina Papa – dance and choreographies
    Giovanni Pirrotta – el. guitar
    Mariano Duca – bass
    Paolo Ongaro – drums
    …and our friend Stefano Marchiori (voice, ac. guitar) when we play Prog covers by Genesis, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Banco, Premiata Forneria Marconi, etc.)! 🙂

    Our website (…still to be updated) is: http://www.quanahparker.it 🙂

    Here another of our recent live videoclips, with our new beautiful singer Meghi Moschino: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DTfa1-3low 🙂

    Have a nice day, thanks again, Becca, and…Prog on! 🙂 🙂

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