Bernard Peiffer | Formidable...!

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Jazz: Free Jazz Classical: Contemporary Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Bernard Peiffer

This is a Pianist's Master Class etude of what is capable on solo piano. Solo Piano - Jazz Arrangements & Improvisations: These solo-piano live performances are a unique synthesis of classical and jazz.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Voyage Too Far Ahead
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5:50 $0.99
2. All the Things You Are
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4:44 $0.99
3. Poem for a Lonely Child
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6:31 $0.99
4. Coccinelle
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5:37 $0.99
5. Jitterbug Waltz (Cadenza)
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2:54 $0.99
6. Black Moon
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6:09 $0.99
7. The Great Escape
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6:52 $0.99
8. 'Round Midnight
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7:10 $0.99
9. Manege
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5:12 $0.99
10. Nest on the Hill
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5:59 $0.99
11. Yesterdays
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6:49 $0.99
12. That's my point...
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0:53 $0.99
13. Prelude, Fugue on Lullaby of Birdland
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10:41 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes

Attracted by the freedom and improvisational nature of jazz and influenced by the virtuoso piano stylings of Fats Waller and Art Tatum, Bernard made his professional jazz debut in 1943, at the age of 20. He joined the now legendary Django Reinhardt after years of prodigious classical training and performances in Europe. My father always credited Django with teaching him the music “business” and Reinhardt predicted a brilliant career for the young and flamboyant Peiffer. Post WW-II, he resumed his music career in 1946, playing concerts for the French Hot Club at the Salle Pleyel, continued his collaboration with Django and performed with many other jazz stars in France. By 1949 Bernard Peiffer was a French national name in music with the moniker “Le Most”. Through the early 1950’s his career flourished in Europe as he won the Jazz Hot Magazine Award and recorded for the Blue Star label, achieving the “Grande Prix du Disque” in 1953. In 1954 he left his successful career in France immigrating to the United States and the birthplace of Jazz by the encouragement of confidants like Leonard Feather & Barry Ulanov who decreed him as “Astounding”. He eventually settled in Philadelphia with his wife, Monaco born Corine Jean-Jacques Taillardat, who left behind a successful professional acting career in Paris to support my father’s dream and raise a family. During his first decade in the United States, Bernard’s career included some watermark performances: Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note, Birdland, Village Vanguard, The Tonight Show, The Academy of Music, The Newport Jazz Festival and opened up for Mel Torme at the Mayflower hotel in Washington DC. It was customary for Mel to join the opening act on piano…except for that evening. When asked why he didn’t join Bernard on-stage he replied, “It would be like asking God to leave the church.” He released several albums on Decca, EmArcy and Laurie records. While his early releases were critically acclaimed, he was consistently unsatisfied with the music and the label’s control over the records. It would not be until his last two records that he be given full creative control, find his piano’s “voice” and freely record without hindrance or coercion from record company executives.
Without a recording contract and free of the influence of producers and ‘commercial’ pressures, my father fiercely followed his lifelong commitment to the principle that the creative artist must synthesize his influences, and make his own statement according to his own instincts., Memories of my father’s performances remain filled with great pride and it is my never ending wish that I could’ve performed alongside him as his drummer. I would sit in the audience as a child; occasionally looking from side to side for glimpses of faces spellbound by my fathers’ playing, experiencing chills every time the audience erupted with applause. I can genuinely remark his performances were inspiring, not just entertainment to the casual jazz patron. He touched many people, often fellow musicians, who sought to raise their abilities and push the envelope of their playing as a boundless form of expression. He taught this to his students as well, pushing them to levels of expectation they once thought impossible.

Since passing, his name in music has fallen into near obscurity and much of his most creative and visionary playing has never been available until now. “Before the end came, Bernard was planning and dreaming of his best work yet to come. This was so typical of perhaps someone who has a kind of visionary fire that required the sophisticated audience of today for fullest, widest appreciation of his genius. And a genius is assuredly what Bernard was, one whose achievement I believe will be recognized for what it was, as prophesized a generation ago and enjoyed by those of who became his friends and admirers…


to write a review

Ralph Stricker

The CD is an awakening of an astounding artist to the public. I haven't heard another awesome CD like this in my life.

Mike Brecker

The record is freakin' great..!
To Stephan- The record is freakin' great. The sound is wonderful, the liner notes are masterful. Your father would have been so proud. This is a grand testament to his genius.

Best/ Mike B.

robert bissonnet

An excellent CD with pianistic technical brilliance and invention
About 3 years ago, the series 'Jazz in Paris', put out by Universal France, permitted me to discover recordings made from 1952-54 by a French pianist named Bernard Peiffer. It was there I learned that at the end of 1954 he had decided to cross the Atlantic in order to pursue his career in the USA. Various discographies I perused indicated that Peiffer had made some records for Decca (very few) about up to 1960, one was reissued in Japan ('Bernie's tunes', unfindable), and that he mostly earned his living teaching and playing in the Philadelphia area where he was often in bad health.

So it was a joyous event for me to learn that his son had made up, from various tapes or broadcasts, a disc of some of his father's works, on a small, very hard to obtain label. Well, I bought it and was knocked down. Sure, Peiffer was a marvellous technician, but that technique was at the service of a great inspiration and also of a superb compositional gift; 'poem for a lonely child', 'black moon', 'manège' and 'nest on the hill' are splendid, particurlarly the first one.

The ceaseles flow of creativity coming from this CD permits us to discover a musician of major proportion; to convince yourself, listen to the very classical-tinged impro on 'Lullaby of Birdland', and the beautiful take on 'Round midnight'.

The CD comes , for the circumstances, in very good sound and pleads a case for somebody to reissue Peiffer's american recordings of the 50's. Let's just hope that his son is able to construct another CD's of hidden treasures.

A major find!


This is a great album; more releases from this artist would definitely be approp
I was introduced to Bernard Peiffer at a venue in New Hope or Lambertville. He astounded me then, he astounds me now. His music is as fresh and beautiful as I remember. He is both master of his instrument and the jazz medium. It is a tragedy that he never recieved the recognition in America he truly deserved.

Arnie Fox

unbelievable technique and improvisation
I've been waiting for 30 years for someone to issue a CD on Bernard Peiffer. I first met Bernard at the Bernie's Woodland Inn. I was having dinner with my wife and Bernard was playing the piano next to us. I keep on saying to my wife, I can't believe what I'm seeing and hearing! His hands were a blur with his awesome speed. I have every LP of his plus 10 hours of live tape! I can't wait for you to make another CD! Bernie was Tatum, Peterson & Garner all rolled into one amazing performer. Ten stars!!!!

rodney h. green

incredible inventive- 2 art tatums plays darius milhaud
i first heard peiffer in a small venue in phila in the '60's.i was awed then.i spent all these years looking for his rcordings. this cd reveals the incredible improvisations and technique that i have missed for years. i am stilled awed

Barb Tucker

Pied Peiffer is back! Great to hear him again...
Wonderful C-D - great quality, I loved it. I was one of Bernard's students when he first came to this country, and it was so nostalgic hearing his voice again. His playing still mesmerizes me after all these years, and I can still see the audience watching and listening open mouthed, while he performed. So glad that Stephan did this, and trusting more of the same will be forthcoming very soon!


Bernard Peiffer Formidable
I saw Bernard Peiffer many times while I was in medical school in Philadelphia.Every concert attracted the same people - Frenchmen living in Philly. I never knew their names, but after a few concerts one always said hello.Peiffer played with a scat bass player Al Stauffer, and their concerts were always very "warm" affairs. One always left feeling very happy..Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia Of Jazz described Peiffer as having tremendous technique, but that his playing lacked warmth.This CD - although lovingly produced (the notes by his son are very good) - illustrate what Feather was alluding to.I saw Peiffer, and his concerts were always "love-ins". He had tremendous technique, but his playing was also very emotional.This CD doesn't capture the essence of Peiffer.


top class solo piano