Composer Earl Louis Stewart created/introduced a new type of invention, Afro-Inventions, to his repertoire in the 1980’s. The Afro-Inventions are studies for evolving pianists that are based on styles common to the African diaspora. Students will find them to be very entertaining and useful to both: (1) the development of classical piano technique; and (2) the preparation for the development of jazz piano technique and improvisation and the understanding of the nuances of jazz and jazz derived styles. In this study twelve mainstream African derived styles are featured.
Symphonies, chamber works, and solo works all reflect, in a very real sense, the musical background of this composer which is the sum of the American urban folk tradition, i.e. spirituals, blues, soul music, gospel music, jazz, and folk-based African music retentions. It also reflects the classical influences of his mentors including Alvin Batiste, Gerard Behague, Kent Kennan, Karl Korte, and Joseph Schwantner.
Of Note: Dr. Stewart considers the art of composition to be more than a profession, but also a spiritual exercise. Thus, he uses the word ‘Identity’ as a part of the title of all of his works. To him, composing affords him the opportunity to engage in his spiritual search for God.
Twelve Inventions in African-Derived Vernacular Styles for Piano
(a) Swing (2:36)
(b) Quasi-Rag (1:45)
(c) Ngoma (alla East African Mbiri Music) (2:06)
(d) New Orleans Style (3:49)
(e) Calypso (traditional) (2:35)
(f) Afro-Latin (2:27)
(g) Quasi-Salsa (3:16)
(h) Quasi-Calypso (fast) (2:50)
(i) Quasi-Funk (3:16)
(j) Swing (2:42)
(k) Neo-New Orleans (3:51)
(l) Neo-Bebop (3:37)
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