Bruce Hornsby

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Solo Concerts, his first release for Vanguard Records, features 21 tracks culled from solo concerts performed by Hornsby in the U.S. over 2012 and 2013.  Solo Concerts offers an opportunity for Hornsby to show off virtuosic piano playing in a variety of settings. There are new compositions like “Life in the Psychotropics” and “Might As Well Be Me” (penned with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter), solo renditions of his radio hits, songs like “Mandolin Rain” and “The Valley Road” and forays into the kind of old-timey music he performed at the start of his career – playing accordion in a band that featured fiddles, banjos and dulcimers. Hornsby also explores modern classical music with the dissonance and expressive chromatics of 20th century 12-tone experimental composers like Austrians Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, as well as American modernists like Elliot Carter, the Hungarian György Ligeti or the French mystic Olivier Messiaen.  Hornsby’s masterful hands brings together this disparate “information” from musical languages often thought to be opposed in what he calls an “unholy alliance.” “I think I’ve found a middle ground,” Hornsby says, “where you’re reaching and broadening your language but still connecting with someone perhaps used to hearing — for an entire lifetime — only those seven white notes and those simple chords.”

Hornsby champions on this set what he calls “two-handed independence,” a phrase to describe a piano performance where one hand doesn’t just accompany a melody played by the other, but rather, as in boogie-woogie, simultaneously achieves a parallel compositional and musical life and vitality of its own.

The album starts with “Song E (Hymn in E-Flat),” from a Spike Lee score Hornsby composed several years ago, then segues into “Preacher in the Ring,” a boogie tune, “an old pattern I was shown by a longtime cohort, so I wrote the song based on that pattern, which illustrates that two-handed independence.”

“I think I’ve found a middle ground,” Hornsby says, “where you’re reaching and broadening your language but still connecting with someone perhaps used to hearing — for an entire lifetime — only those seven white notes and those simple chords.”

Tour Dates

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10/23/14
Chicago, IL
Thalia Hall
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10/27/14
Iowa City, IA
The Englert Theatre
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10/28/14
Green Way, WI
Meyer Theatre
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10/30/14
Madison, WI
USA
Capitol Theater - Overture Center For The Arts
(608) 258-4177
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11/01/14
Troy, NY
Troy Savings Bank Music
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Albums

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