The History of Jazz Piano

Part lecture, part concert, Richard Michael takes us on a whistle-stop tour of jazz, from its humble beginnings in the tunes of Scott Joplin to the more experimental Dave Brubeck and all the masters in between.

Jazz, as Michael notes, is all about learning to mess around and experiment: the best jazz musicians are the best ‘doodlers’. This is true of Michael himself. Despite the educational content, he is very much at play with the instrument. His history is paralleled by his own experiences of the genre, coupled with amusing anecdotes, for an informative yet personal evening.

Michael is equal parts entertainer and educator. Hugely knowledgeable on his subject, his delivery puts musical expertise into layman’s terms without being patronising. Playing a number of tunes in succession, each piece is dissected in terms of harmony, melody and rhythmic patterns to explain variations in the different jazz styles. God Save The Queen is also transformed, depicting each reactionary movement of the genre. It’s an informative evening for both aficionados and beginners alike: you’ll undoubtedly come away with a huge stack of names and records to research.

At times Michael struggles with the complex rhythms, blistering pace and sheer amount of notes the music demands, but this barely matters. Michael is not attempting to be a concert pianist. His playing may not be completely accurate but, as he explains, ‘every wrong note is an opportunity’. Moreover, Michael’s enthusiasm whilst playing is electric. If every school teacher were like this, music lessons would be a whole lot more fun.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

BBC's Jazz Jargon Buster Richard Michael pays homage to the great jazz pianists. This acknowledged master of improvisation and inspirational educator must be heard to be believed! 'You name it, Michael can play it' (Scotsman).  

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets