What a great way to spend a rainy Autumn evening…listening to Richard Michael present his ‘It’s all Music Folks’ in the atmospheric surroundings of Haddo’s wooden hall. While we missed the experience of being in that wonderful building, all of us tuning into this excellent concert- thanks to the videographer recording this concert-  had the chance to virtually sit next to Richard as he played Haddo’s Steinway piano. A great opportunity to see his virtuoso jazz technique on the keyboard.

Composers as diverse as Paul McCartney, Earl Garner and Django Reinhardt featured in this concert with Richard revealing that none of these three brilliant musicians were able to read music. As he reminded us, they just listened, they used their ears – a key message for us all to remember.

Autumn Leaves, a great wistful romantic song from the early 20th century gave Richard a chance to show how chords from Bach’s masterpieces also found their way into the music of Duke Ellington and even James Bond theme tunes.

Richard provided some great demonstrations of improvisation, a feature of great jazz and creative musicians and a technique that can take the classics on a fantastic and inspirational journey – including the rollicking rhythm of the railroad, a key element in American jazz.

Scales and improvisation around them provided great composers like Gershwin and Cole Porter with new ideas, great tunes and unforgettable melodies and how vividly Richard explained that creative process.

This was a lovely intimate concert combining musical history with top quality performance and a joy to listen to. It was clear that Richard feels every note in his bones and that he really enjoys sharing his passion with his audience, which in past months – before Covid-19 – has also included many primary school children across Aberdeenshire

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