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MMD > Archives > May 1996 > 1996.05.25 > 02Prev  Next

Bogatko rolls
By Craig Brougher

Just sitting here listening to George Bogatko for the umpteenth time. I can't get enough of it. His "Walkin' My Baby" and "Nag Nag Nag" on the BamBam roll label will take your breath away.

I've been trying to decide what it is that I like the best about his work. First of all, it is totally unlike anything I have ever heard before on a player roll. The progressions and ornamentation are far beyond the development of the art in the 20's. If I was ever asked to choose a roll that represented the ultimate kind of music played by player pianos, one of his rolls would be it! It is infectious, and the rhythm is utterly compulsive. He uses chord changes, tonic changes, complicated progressions and modulations so thickly and tastefully that you are hearing sometimes three counter-melodies going at the same time. He exploits the rich overtones of a piano to its limits. The chords are the most deeply gorgeous things I have ever heard, the way he continually modulates them.

Compared to Bogatko, most player rolls are fairly straightforward and plain. He is spoiling me now. Without his version on my piano, I find myself wondering, "What would George do with that?"

George is a serious student of greats like Sibelius and Mahler, and has the rare talent to see, instantly, what an artist is actually doing, philosophically and otherwise. He is also able to mimic any other artist you wish to name. You like Art Tatum? No problem. Few good musicians have this ability. I am going to be watching for George's rolls, because I am really hooked. It seems strange, 70 years after the player's heyday, to be able to now buy the best music that has ever been put out in roll format.

Craig B.

(Message sent Sat 25 May 1996, 19:51:34 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Bogatko, rolls

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