I just received "Hot Kumquats"! What a total Joy! Its delicious! Neither of you squandered your talents. I liked it so much I ordered more for friends I want to impress. If I knew how to spell "scintilating", I'd say it was very scintilating...I think that means it sparkled. Thanks to you both.
Opal Franey, California
John--I just listened to "Hot Kumquats" and give you the royal thumbs up! It's a very high standard you're setting, as yours truly is planning on recording some of this stuff for Shellwood in '99. I like the fact that you actually DID modify tempi here and there--SOOOO much more musical that way. These are THE most exceptional pieces of their kind. I rather think Arthur Schutt and Co. would have gotten a regal kick out of 'em!!
Alex Hassan, Virginia
I liked Hot Kumquats a lot. Believe it or not I don't have a CD player as such at home... I've got one in each of two computers, and an autochanger in my car, which is where you CD's (both of them) currently reside. This way I get to listen to them to and from work. Bye the way, thanks for the autograph on it. So keep up the good work.....what's coming next?
Malcolm Humfress, Worcester, England
I think "Hot Kumquats" is a great CD. I particularly liked "Roger's Favorite Toy" and "Running On the Rims". Robin Frost is certainly a talented composer. You'll need to publish a third volume of his sheet music someday.
Mike Metcalfe, Washington
I have now listened to Hot Kumquats for the 15th or 20th time. I love it!! My daughter loves the CD also. She has been seen dancing in the livingroom when I am playing it. Your interpretations of Robin's works are right on the money!
I have been starting to work on midi recording my self. Having begun the task of understanding nuances of midi and how they affect performance on my instrument, I have developed a newfound appreciation of your talent and efforts. Keep it up!
Steve Stiller, Colorado
The postman delivered your new CD and I am overjoyed with it. What a true delight and a wonderful keyboard romp!!!! If it were an LP it would be scratched already. Thanks for all that work. and KEEP 'EM COMING!!! What a perfect thing to get on a holiday.
Warren Figueiredo., Louisiana
Received with many thanks CD Hot Kumquats and the Robin Frost Folio. What a joy! Your interpretations are a lasting pleasure - happy listening indeed. How do you make it all sound so spontaneous and such fun? Hard work I suppose. But we love you for it.
Anthony Bullock, Glouchestershire, England
Just received the new CD & it's on right now. Kumquats is fantastic. Cool Summer .... the way it opens, I'm expecting a Gershwin tune. I'm gonna play this in class tomorrow.
Dr. Ed Berlin, Professor, Institute for Studies in American Music, New York
Got your CD in the mail yesterday. I listened to the whole thing while preparing/eating dinner. It sounds awesome. You did a really good job. I think the production on Hot Kumquats is better than that on Syncopated Odyssey. You're improving.
Irwin Schwartz, California
Just got my copy in the mail today and am enjoying it right now. Another great production!
Jon J Cverna, Ohio
John - I received my CD a couple of days ago. It's GREAT! There are a lot of phrasings and ideas I really like. A few cuts (especially the title cut) remind me a little bit of Hoagy Carmichael's early days. I really enjoy listening to it. For some reason it doesn't seem to get old. I like that! Have played it for a couple of friends (and given them your email address so they can order it!) Keep up the good work - and keep the faith!
Jack Swank, California
Got the CD today. Now listening to "Temperature" for the 3rd time (the entire CD being played for the 3rd time). Different from Scott J, but I love it! Hot Kumquats is a great CD. The piano technique is really wonderful, and the variety of tempos, themes, and inovations keep me loading this CD again and again. You are the master of the MIDI, and Robin Frost is truely a master composer. AS a careful and frugal CD buyer, I must admit I am already standing in line waiting for the release of CD number 3. Thank you and Robin for the many hours of enjoyment already experienced listening to "Hot Kumquats" (and "Syncopated Odyssey"), and the anticipation of many more to come. An admirer from the Commodore 64 days.
Russ Shablow, Texas
I've just recieved your first 1st CD and am anxiously awaiting Hot Kumquats. I was more than awestruck by the unbelieveable quality of the music. You have certainly done a great job. I know that it was an immense amount of time and expertise on your part.
Stanley Courtney, Illinois
Just got Kumquats - WOW!!! I'm ordering another Kumquats for a loaner. IMHO, you and Robin should win a Grammy for Kumquats - definitely the best CD I heard in 1998. Design and production quality of music on Kumquats are excellent. Hope the fact that you've gone over the top on this CD and can't possibly do anything better doesn't mean you will quit now - looking forward to the next one.
Judy Lahore, Washington
I recently received the 3 copies of "Hot Kumquats and other Frosty Delights" which I ordered and it is WONDERFUL! As one of Robin Frost's biggest fans and admirers I was absoloutely delighted to see this CD dedicated to his music. I really felt like a dog lost in a meat market to get so much from one purchase! Sincerely,
John Baker, Florida.
Your fantastic CD's arrived today. Am listening to one now and LOVE IT! My hubby's tickled to see me tippy-tappin to the music. Oh, and the timing was exquisite! Tomorrow's my 51st birthday, so now I'm sure to have a great one! Thanks for the autographs too. I'd be hard pressed to name my favorite numbers on "Hot Kumquats"... but several times I have found my fingers drawn to the repeat button for "Blue Rondeau" and "Summer Solace". It's especially pleasing to know there are contemporary musicians out there who are talented enough and care enough to keep the Rag and Stride style alive and well. Keep me in mind should you tackle another collection, especially one with "Bluin' The Black Keys" :-) Thanks again!
Lisa Forrest, Maryland
Thanks to you and Robin Frost I had an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast. I sat at the table in my Bozo Pants and was served a Jellyfish Omelet smothered with Alligator Gravy and a Hot Kumquat desert with L'Apres-Midi d'un Raisin playing softly in the background. Some classy eating joint!
Bill Shirley, Oklahoma
I enjoy the "Hot Kumquats" CD and I'm glad that I purchased it (and another for a gift), but I don't enjoy it as much as "Syncopated Odyssey" because my favorites are Scott Joplin and other composers in that style. I will also buy any subsequent CDs that you make because you do such quality work. You have provided me with many, many hours of enjoyment from both your CDs and your MIDIs. Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback. I remain your greatest fan,
Sheryl Clark, Kansas
I'm not a piano player, but I do love piano music.....and rag, stride and novelty piano is my kind of music. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed listening to your two CD's I have purchased. If it hadn't been for computers I never would have discovered your music. I was on the Internet one day and just happened to begin a search for 'music piano rag' and eventually wound up on your page. Best thing ever coming out of my internet foray. I can't think of more happy, toe-tapping music than what you produce. I enjoy listening to it over and over....and like to fantasize what it would be like to be able to play piano like that. Thanks Again.
Dick Felton, Florida
I discovered your WEBsite about a year and a half ago, and quite by accident (which is one of the great features of the Internet). Since then I have been a devoted fan of yours, mainly through the MIDI songs you post on your site.
Part of my enthusiasm stems from the fact that I have been a pianist since I was 6 years old, but my genetic heritage did not give me big enough hands to play tenths. In fact, I had to "stretch" my hands for years just to play octaves. At any rate, I have *so* admired stride piano because the sound texture is one of the richest I have ever experienced. Obviously having someone who plays stride as well as you (and the other composers/players you have introduced me to) gives me no end of musical pleasure.
I ordered your CD on a whim, which is how a lot of my purchases over the Internet seem to happen. To be quite honest, I expected a re-hash of the stuff I've heard in your MIDI libraries. I must tell you how astonished I was when I listened to the first track of Hot Kumquats. Instead of the semi-artificial timings and nuances that MIDI imposes, it was a full, rich sound and dynamics. It totally exceeded my expectations. I listened to the entire CD from start to finish, and each song had a new, fresh musical approach, including phrasing and sound texture. Of course, the one thing each composition had in common was a superb sound.
My musical tastes run an entire gambit, and so when I latch onto a CD that is as well produced as this, I can't stop playing it. My trip to work each day is just long enough to play almost the entire CD. I'm amazed at how quickly my commute goes by and how much I enjoy the morning grind with your compositions filling up the dead space in my car.
I would also like to compliment you on your choice of compositions. Robin Frost's songs have a certain common "sound" or style, but each has its own unique blend of tempo, articulation and variation. The arrangements are very well sequenced on the CD as well. Most CDs these days have tracks that I may even program out of the playlist, but I have to say that *every* track on this album is great!
Congratulations on a job well done...this is a "sparkling" piece of musical heritage for the die-hard stride fans.
Jim Gloystein, California
Here is some criticism on the recording. Please take it in the spirit in which it is intended.
My feelings on this project probably lie more in the hands of Robin Frost then yourself but I really don't understand the reasoning for composing music that nobody can play except a computer. I do understand your reasoning for approaching Robin's work through MIDI interpretations and within that format, you have certainly done a good job. Learning a work of Robin's up to tempo would take me a lot of time and practice so I certainly appreciate the process of allowing a computer to play the notes.
To me, playing a composition is no different than looking at a piece of art and then allowing the various interpretations based on the life of the painter as well as your own life experiences color your impressions and thoughts. It is also no different than reading a great work of literature and allowing the characters and scenes come to life in your mind. In each of these cases, what you have is a work of art ( a painting, a musical piece, literature, etc.) and then you have a person who must interpret that art based on many different experiences. Because I have the ability to play the piano, if I hear a work that moves me, I go out and buy the music so that I can experience the work on a more subtle or more spiritual level. Because I can play, interpreting the work myself is a viable means for me to understand the work more fully. I immerse myself in my own interpretation of the work and, in the process, I discover new things about the music that were not evident to me in just listening to someone elses interpretation. Beause many of the new Frost pieces are unplayable, I feel I have lost the opportunity to enjoy these pieces fully or on that more intimate level. I think you will understand what I am saying since you are a pianist yourself.
Another problem I had with the music was that it seemed to be on auto-pilot. The interpretations were lively and enthusiastic but seemed too strict in tempo and this gave it an automatic feeling. One of the nice things about a live pianist, especially if they are playing music your are familiar with, is that no interpretation is that same and although you may have heard the piece 100 times, you can still be surprised by the pianist's color, shading and tempo changes. I feel that these more subtle characteristics were missing.
Considering that these are MIDI interpretations, I was very impressed with what you have done as I know that the amount of work that goes into realizing a composition is enormous. You have also done the ragtime/novelty world a great favor by presenting these works, since there are few recordings of Robin's work available.
I know that I have given more "bad" criticism that "good" critisicm but I leave you knowing that I eagerly await your next project. Keep up the good work.
Corte Swearingen , Illinois
I don't know how to tell you this John, but... I like Hot Kumquats even better than your first CD. It has a a slightly different spirit and a little more diversity and it still makes me want to get up and dance. My husband came home early the other day and found me dancing away to the music so he just sat down and watched the show. Actually applauded!
You've a wonderful talent, John. I wish I could do what you do, but then I really don't have to -- you do it for me. My husband like to put your Hot Kumquats in our CD-ROM drive while we're working on the computers. It keeps a smile on our faces. (However, it's hard for me to dance and compute at the same time.!)
Please, keep these CD's coming. I'm looking forward to a large John Roache collection.
Ethel C. Valz-Lane, Louisiana
It's really great! I have played it for several friends, and they cannot believe that the music is not played by a real person.
Lynn Walls, Michigan
Dear Dr. John - I hope that compliments for your "Hot Kumquats" are falling in quantities like snow in Switzerland. It really is a hot CD. I love it. With best season's greetings from Europe
- Ed Brum, Switzerland
I've enjoyed "Hot Kumquats" a lot, and I listen to it regularly. I thought "Bozo Pants" was great when I first heard it on KSBR, and didn't know it was a pre-release. I thought maybe you had other albums out when I found that it wasn't on "Syncopated Odyssey," so I was glad to see it on the new album. The entire album is good, and I like the way you have arranged the music. My favorite 3 tunes are "Bozo Pants," "Lobbo Aim," and "Unconfirmed Report." I'm glad you made it to the West Coast Ragtime Festival in spite of your illness. I learned a lot from your seminar --I purchased many other CD's at the Ragtime Festival (having already purchased yours), and yours are among my top favorites. Robin Frost's compositions are so much fun that I keep coming back to it! Thanks for all your hard work, and I hope your albums sell well!
Jim Wenck, California
LOVED Hot Kumquats.......Listen to it all the time while working away. I am just a busy person, so I have not had the time to hear test your other cd's. It is so nice to be able to hear a sampling before buying......Unlike PC programs!!!! Keep up the good work.
Dee Waring, N.Carolina
I received your "Hot Kumquats" CD in a timely manner and just love the music and arrangements - I keep the CD in my player ready to go - for pleasure or therapy. Composer Robin Frost became a favorite of mine while listening to your MIDI sequences (Rolling Avocado, Space Shuffle, Occident Express ...etc). I cannot thank you enough for the music you have made available. I plan to order another "Kumquat" CD for my uncle this Christmas.
Dan Darling, California
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