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John Williams didn´t practice piano too much!


Pierre
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Hery there i am looking for the source of interview i saw once in past, i think it was video on youtube or some article, where JW says that they were just young guys who didnt practice piano too much while studying and that he decided to be composer instead. I think he also talked about Leonard Bernstain. 

Anybody knows what is the source?

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no it wasnt a joke, yes he was excelent but in his own words he sayed that he was just a boy doing some other stuff rather than exercising and that he was meeting lots of other pianists around Julliard and he realised that he is too weak to be a pianist so he tought he would rather be composer.

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5 hours ago, Pierre said:

Hery there i am looking for the source of interview i saw once in past, i think it was video on youtube or some article, where JW says that they were just young guys who didnt practice piano too much while studying and that he decided to be composer instead. I think he also talked about Leonard Bernstain. 

Anybody knows what is the source?

 

Well, he's talked about it (briefly) in several interviews, usually the same tidbits. Like this, for example:

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2012/11/10/164615420/john-williams-inevitable-themes

 

There's also an earlier one where he "mimics" Lhevinne's accent, but I forgot where I heard/read it.

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11 hours ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Actually, Donald Williams recently remembered how his older brother would be always late for the meals as he wouldn't leave the piano mid way his exercises.

 

So the rest of the family thought he did practice too much.

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On 17/04/2022 at 1:09 AM, karelm said:

Conrad and Johnny's brother both said he spent an entire year in high school playing with his left hand only.

 

That's a lot of held beers...

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On 16/04/2022 at 6:55 AM, Miguel Andrade said:

 

There is this story of Johnny Mandel working on a recording with a singer I can't recall the name right now, and for the final session, Rowells wasn't available, so they called for young Williams, who Mandel described to the singer, as a more classical oriented pianist.

 

Hi @Miguel Andrade, do you remember the source for the Mandel story by any chance?

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From https://www.jazzwax.com/2009/10/interview-david-allyn-part-2.html

Quote

David Allyn: Dick had the idea to do an album in tribute to Jerome Kern. Johnny [Mandel] and I spent weeks choosing offbeat Kern tunes and arranging. I went over to Johnny's house every day, and we shut everything out and just worked on it. At his house, Johnny would work out things on the piano and say to me, “How do you like this?”

Jazz on Wax: How did it go?
DA: We worked perfectly together. Boy, I’ll tell ya. We worked for weeks, nonstop. Johnny still calls me to talk about that record. For the session, Johnny brought in pianist Jimmy Rowles. But for one date [November 26, 1957], Johnny couldn’t get Jimmy so he hired pianist John Williams.

JW: Which track?
DA: In Love in Vain. Johnny said, “Let’s start cold. No piano, no introduction, nothing.” John Williams played in octaves, two in his left hand and two in his right. I didn't like that. It was too simple. I said, “Come on, don’t palm it out like that." So John Williams did it the way you hear it on the album, and it sounded much better.

 

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