Virtuoso – it’s a word we sometimes hear, but how often do we get a chance to see and hear a virtuoso in action?

Well, when Rossano Sportiello put the Haddo Steinway piano through its paces last weekend (May 25) he demonstrated just what skilfulness, artistry and panache is involved when a master of the art of jazz piano takes to the key board.

Jazz fans from Aberdeen city and the Shire gathered at Haddo House Hall to hear Rossano breathe new life into works by the great legends including Oscar Peterson, George Gershwin, Richard Rogers and Nat King Cole among many others. Wonderful tunes like ‘As Time Goes By’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘When I Fall in Love with You’ were just some of the gems which Rossano reinterpreted with effortless flair and precision.

As he said himself, the historic wooden surroundings of the Hall have wonderful acoustics – all the better to enjoy the sound created by Rossano as he demonstrated the extraordinarily complex Harlem Stride piano technique, especially in a piece he described as the ‘Fingerbuster’. His hands moved so quickly on the keyboard, they were just a blur of activity.

A highly trained classical musician, Rossano paid tribute to both Chopin and Bach. Starting off with familiar classics like Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, he set off an an amazing improvisation on the theme taking the audience on an amazing journey of rhythm and syncopation, returning to the original tune with a flourish.

Following stylish, snappy and dynamic version of the St Louis Blues, the audience called out for more and were rewarded with one more fantastic example of a virtuoso in action.

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