Vaguely remembered music article - old pianist who impressed rappers
February 1, 2017 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I've searched for a vaguely remembered article on and off for a few years now, which I thought was from CMJ, between 2001 and maybe 2003. I think it was about an old white guy who played piano for a crowd of hip-hop heads who didn't know him, except recordings of his piano playing was featured as samples in a ton of songs, which they recognized. Who was that piano player?

The Article, as I remember it, was about this pianist who performed as someone unknown, but to an audience full of young hip-hop enthusiasts. The articled described how he walked on stage, humble or shy, but after playing and getting rousing support from the crowd, "he walked down the stairs with his head held high." That phrase stuck is in my head, but no positive search results, so I have now convinced myself I made that up.

Some old CMJ magazines are on Google Books, but my broad search for piano hip-hop turn up some hits, but not apparently any positive results. I can't remember any part of the pianist's name, or what style of music he played, to narrow broader search results. Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Probably Bob James, who has a fundamental role in hip hop through sampling.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks! It's quite possible, given how many credit him for his influential role in hip-hop (NPR, Noisy-Vice, Revive Music). No luck searching for Bob Jones and Piano in those CMJ issues, but it's an incomplete archive.

Unless I get other good contenders, I'll mark that as the answer.

(Bonus link: How Bob James’ classic song “Nautilus” [was created as end-of-the-album filler, yet] influenced the sound of hiphop.)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:15 PM on February 1, 2017

I don't think that this was the article I had in mind, but here's DJ Hurricane interviewing Bob James for CMJ in the Dec. 2000 issue.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2017

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