Ragtime & Trip-Hop inspired this New York Pianist and blended itself into this,funky, Brian Eno-influenced Trip. Blues and Neneh Cherry-style some vocals add to the mix. Ragtime =1890's in the US; Trip-Hip =1990's in the UK.
Ragtime is kick-ass; Trip-Hop is downtempo/ - READ MORE--- FOR THE CRITICS!
REVIEW: APRIL 1, 2011--WhisperinandHollerin
Review: 'BIRNBAUM, MARK'
Review -' RAGTIME TRIP-HOP' - BIRNBAUM, MARK - - PEACOCK PIANO PRODUCTIONS INC -
- Label: 'PEACOCK PIANO PRODUCTIONS INC'
**8- Genre: 'Trip-Hop' - Release Date: 'April 2010'- Catalogue No: 'PPP368'
This CD tries very hard to marry two very disparate genres, ragtime jazz and trip-hop. When it works, it works very well.
New York City based pianist MARK BIRNBAUM has made a valiant attempt here to fuse the musical styles, investing in Neneh Cherry’s vocals for some tracks, but the main problem with the CD is that like a Prog Rock album , this offers one hour of music with eleven tracks being minor variations on the same two songs.
The album starts well with ‘Welcome!’ a good rap about revolution and how everyone should unite and focus on our problems: “Time for some action, time to think real, time to speak real.” Sentiments that are heartfelt and probably echoed by millions. ‘Carnival for Eubie’ is another good track, an empowerment song.
Tracks like ‘Outta Keys’ have a great Scott Joplin style piano melody which is backed with some atmospheric electronics, but what lets this down is that it is expanded upon, to have an ‘Outta Keys’ bass mix, two other mixes and two vocal mixes.
‘Ragtime Trip-Hop’ the next track is a nice jaunty piano ragtime boogie, which works well.
The ‘Luna Keys’ mixes utilise organ rather than piano, and this works well on the original and the ‘Luna Keys Cry’ vocal mix, the vocals seemingly about love and loss:- “I waited oh, for so long/ now I will be all alone.”
Overall, when this works, it works really well,
author: Nick Browne -
REVIEW; MARCH 20, 2011
***"Dr. Birnbaum displays his range of stylistic wizardry and includes multiple varied takes of pieces to suite various moods. If you've enjoyed his prior albums, you will delight in how his genius refracts styles others might find incongruous."
Peter H. Gilmore, Church of Satan (High Priest)
***NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE and VIDEO (and BIO)*********************************************************************************
'Virtuosity Flows From Street to Piano" - article & video - New York Times April 2, 2010----by Corey Kilgannon
Like His Platform Boots, His Music Keeps Moving-
By COREY KILGANNON
Published: April 3, 2010
If you have spent time on the East Side of Manhattan around the United Nations, there is a good chance you have seen a man walking around looking a bit like Elton John circa 1977.
This would probably be Mark Birnbaum on his daily constitutional. Mr. Birnbaum walks Second Avenue flamboyantly dressed in platform boots, hand-painted blazers and all sorts of feathered boas, with cigar clenched in mouth and ornamental cane in hand.
''The street is my inspiration, and if you want to remain immersed in New York, you have to walk its streets,'' said Mr. Birnbaum, who grew up in Brooklyn and has lived in Manhattan since 1977. ''I'm a New York street guy, and Manhattan has the best energy in the world.''
Mr. Birnbaum, 58, who teaches piano out of his studio apartment on the 20th floor of his building on East 48th Street, calls his long daily walks integral to his playing, teaching and composing, a tie to ''New York's street vibe.''
''I dress like this every day of the year, whether I'm staying inside, teaching or not,'' he said of his outfit, which includes a top hat, sparkles on his face and colorful strands in his hair.
Mr. Birnbaum said he realized the musical importance of the daily walk after meeting the immortal ivory tickler Vladimir Horowitz, who told him, ''Make sure you walk 40 blocks a day, because if you don't walk, your fingers don't run.''
Mr. Horowitz was living on Madison Avenue at the time, and Mr. Birnbaum said he walked in that area about 50 times until he finally saw the maestro and strolled with him.
Mr. Birnbaum also ran into Richard M. Nixon at a grocery on East 65th Street early one morning in 1980. The former president, Mr. Birnbaum said, ''was squeezing grapefruits and explaining the virtues of pink versus white grapefruits as if he were conducting foreign policy.''
Mr. Birnbaum specializes in teaching jazz piano, especially ragtime and stride, ''with some Bach and punk rock and free jazz thrown in,'' he said. In his listing on Craigslist -- ''A Piano Lesson Is a Magical Mystery Tour'' -- he claims to have ''invented a geometric, yet flexible way of teaching blues, jazz, ragtime and classical piano.''
''Jazz is Zen. Blues is the basis of jazz. Bach is king,'' the listing says. Many of Mr. Birnbaum's students are United Nations employees.
On a recent weekday, Mike Heller Chu, 35, who works in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, showed up impeccably dressed in suit and tie for his weekly lesson. Mr. Birnbaum was decked out in sunglasses, glitter boots with eight-inch heels, necklaces and pendants dangling over his bare chest, long feathers waving above his head.
Mr. Heller Chu sat at the piano, which had a pile of empty cigar boxes on top. He began improvising a jazzy, vampy solo, as Mr. Birnbaum paced nearby, his cane in one hand, an unlighted cigar in the other.
Mr. Birnbaum exulted with a yell during well-played passages, and urged his student at other times to ''throw in that Gershwin-y thing,'' or add a Coltrane lick, or pound out a James Brownian rhythm.
Growing up in East Flatbush near Ebbets Field, Mr. Birnbaum imitated the recordings and piano rolls of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and James P. Johnson. He graduated from Brooklyn College and received a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University.
He has made nine records, although none are exactly big sellers. His life used to be full of high-paying gigs, and he was the pianist and a regular guest on ''The Joe Franklin Show.'' These days, he relies on teaching for a living.
Among his many compositions is a rag called ''Eubie on Second Avenue,'' in honor of Eubie Blake, and of walking on the avenue.
''When I walk, I get maybe 100 people who say hello to me every day,'' he said. ''You have to be an improviser to live in New York, because anything can happen. Walking itself is an improvisation, in New York.''
PHOTO: Mark Birnbaum, a familiar sight on the East Side, in his apartment. A video of Mr. Birnbaum is at nytimes.com/cityroom. (PHOTOGRAPH BY COREY KILGANNON/THE NEW YORK TIMES)