Backstage with Torrey Hall
BACKSTAGE WITH TORREY HALL "He's a man with a musical soul!", exclaims world renowned entertainment icon Tony Sandler, in remarks about Torrey Hall. We think you'll agree with that accolade from Sandler, after listening to Hall's artistry at the piano. When he was yet but two months old, Torrey's mother took him to a classical symphony concert, remarking later that 'whenever the orchestra played a series of melancholy chords of rich color, the small child would begin sobbing as if his little heart were breaking.' Other audience members also took notice of it and later concurred with his mother that indeed, the baby boy was a musician at heart. Trained as a classical artist by the nation's best pedagogues and pianists, Mr. Hall began playing piano in public at age four. His early teachers quickly noticed his witty improvisations in jazz chording, rhythms, and progressions, using simple tunes and melodies, which they encouraged. Over the years, Torrey has performed throughout the United States in recitals, concerts, and other music venues. He has appeared at theaters, jazz clubs, colleges, universities, and religious institutions including churches and synagogues. He has performed on radio and television, and has played for prominent dignitaries and heads of state in Washington, DC and Israel. In 1992 he performed for prime minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, an internationally televised event. While many artists cling to one music genre, Torrey seems as much at ease with classical or sacred / ethnic repertoire as he is playing jazz standards and Broadway show tunes. Noting his height at 6'2' tall, one of Juilliard's elite pianist alumni / clinicians Dr. David Kaiserman, said that when Torrey plays, "he should be able to shake the foundations of a building." You'll sense that keyboard power in this newly released CD from Torrey. Songs like CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN give a glimpse of it. Yet his light artist's touch remains afloat in songs like LOVE IS HERE TO STAY, his transcription of a Don Shirley arrangement. Torrey's personality surfaces in his own piano works on this album. You'll catch his humor in LUNCH HOUR, his jazz pulse in CHARADES, or his retrospection in BLUE CAROUSEL, a seemingly endless round of progressions that continue to resolve again and again. Reflecting upon the pianist who held most influence upon his growing musical mind, the artist defers to the incomparable Don Shirley, whom Torrey borrows from on the Gershwin tunes, using some intro's and one transcribed Shirley arrangement. Following a long hiatus from both piano and public performance while raising his two musically gifted sons, Jared and Jordan, Mr. Hall has finally returned to the stage, sharing his large musical gift with us all. His own thoughts about music were recently expressed in interview when he said "Music is a strange and wonderful phenomena. It pulls you from the present into the past, or flings you far into the future." As a fellow performer and musician, I can attest to the fascinating power of music, for after all, I was Duke Ellington's bass player for years. And now, it's my pleasure to introduce a close friend and musical comrade, pianist Torrey Hall. Enjoy! Jeff Castleman, string bass Duke Ellington Orchestra.