A double dose of powerhouse jazz

Loews Annapolis Hotel presents two nights and styles of the art form


April 13, 2007|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,Special to The Sun

Fans of piano artistry are in luck at Loews Annapolis Hotel Powerhouse when Stef Scaggiari teams up on April 27 with Dick Durham in Jazz for Two Pianos. Scaggiari will return April 28 with his trio to back up vocalist Tony Spencer in an urban jazz show.

Part of the popular Jazz at the Powerhouse series hosted by Elana Byrd, these shows are held in an intimate cabaret third-floor setting, where about 100 people can get up close to the musicians and enjoy drinks and light fare.

On Friday, Durham and Scaggiari will prove there's little they don't play, having over 100 years of experience between them, according to Scaggiari's calculations.

The duo will bring their acclaimed improvisational skills to a jazz repertoire of Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Henry Mancini as well as their original compositions.

The two-piano idiom was popularized by Marian McPartland on her radio show Piano Jazz heard on National Public Radio for over a decade, but its practice remains uncommon, perhaps because it's difficult to do well.

Scaggiari is another fixture on NPR, heard on Weekend Edition Sunday for more than 20 years, and is known for his appearances at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and the nine years he spent as music director of the former King of France Tavern.

Durham is sure to lend talent and wit to this duo's version of dueling pianos as they tackle standard tunes, as can be heard on their Keyed Up CD.

Scaggiari and Durham have honed their skills over the last seven years. The duo are longtime friends, live on Maryland's Eastern Shore and are both classically trained with master's degrees in music.

Their work has delighted audiences at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Monterey Jazz Festival.

On April 28, Spencer will join Stef Scaggiari's Trio and perform great tunes like "You'll Never Find," "What a Difference a Day Makes" and "My Cherie Amour."

Spencer has served as coordinator of human services for Mayor Ellen O. Moyer since 2002 and has performed with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

He also has taken the stage in Africa, Canada and Italy, as well at the 2003 Saluzzo Spring Festival, with the Annapolis Chorale and the Florida Philharmonic.

Loews Annapolis Hotel Powerhouse, at 126 West St., has a $20 cover charge. Call 410-269-0777 or 410-266-7338 for reservations for the April 27 and 28 shows.

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