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What's Playing In Tori Amos's Ear?
The singer-songwriter gets her musical kicks from jazz-flecked organ riffs, heart-stopping Chopin, and the ever wonderful Mr. Wonder.
by Justine van der Leun
With the 1992 release of her angry, gorgeous breakout album, Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos ushered in a new wave of female alterna-rockers - Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Paula Cole among them. The North Carolina-born former piano prodigy has since put out eight albums, cofounded the nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and written an autobiography, Tori Amos: Piece by Piece. We talked to the singer and songwriter in the middle of an international tour promoting her most recent record, The Beekeeper, about which tunes she brought with her on the road.
Jimmy Smith, The Sermon! (Blue Note): "He's the Miles Davis of the Hammond organ, an early electronic keyboard; he's the greatest player bar none. In the fifties, he brought it all together - jazz, gospel, soul, R&B - and this album is just full of jams. When I play the Hammond, Jimmy Smith's my benchmark."
Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Paderewski on Welte-Mignon Rolls (Dux): "During this tour, I was interviewed by the Johnny Carson of Polish radio, Piotr Kaczkowski, and he gave me an album that includes a recital of Chopin recorded in 1906. It's fascinating to hear the music played by someone who understood the cultural heritage of its original composer."
Morcheeba, Big Calm (Sire/Wea): "I love Morcheeba's rhythmic, electronic funk. It gets you into your feminine hip sway, doesn't give you too much of an attitude, makes you feel spiritual yet sensual, not vulgar but sexy. It's one of the best records to listen to as you get ready to go out."
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (Motown): "I was studying at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore when Innervisions came out. As soon as I heard Stevie playing on this album, I couldn't stop listening. When I wanted to funkify certain tunes on The Beekeeper, I went back to this - it just reminds me of what keyboards can do."
[scan by Sakre Heinze]
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