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Posted October 1, 2010
Virtuoso pianists come and go, but Winifred Atwell's unique gifts were as one of the great live keyboard entertainers of them all, as well as a powerhouse recording musician. Listen to the extraordinary fingering in her ragtime numbers on this compilation, and the fiendish left hand work on the boogie numbers. No-one has replicated Winnie's joyous sound, which is perhaps best shown on this album in "Nicolette" (better known as an instrumental guitar hit for Al Caiola called "Calcutta") and in her own compositions like Brittania Rag and Jubilee Rag. She recorded these many times over the years; the renditions here are still audio dynamite. "The Poor People of Paris" was an old number from the twenties when Winnie took it to Number One on the British charts in 1956. She remains to this day the only female instrumentalist to top the English charts, the only black pianist to star in every European capital, and the only instrumentalist to have back-to-back gold records. The ingenious arrangments and the copper bell tone of Winnie's playing on this "Best of" tribute feature her classic style of playing with the hands very wide apart, with a superb rhythmic left hand playing some of the most intricate "eight-to-the-bar" lines heard on record. Having heard all of her output of thirty or so albums, dozens of EP's and singles, I can vouch for this album containing at least among the best of Winifred Atwell's recordings. Try if you can to obtain vinyl recordings of "The Plush Piano of Winifred Atwell" and the live album recorded in Australia "Winifred Atwell At the Silver Spade" if you want to hear possibly the best popular pianist of the twentieth century at her peak.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.