[Dixielandjazz] Mimi Blais

Charlie Hooks charliehooks@earthlink.net
Tue, 25 Jun 2002 08:59:00 -0500

on 6/25/02 2:02 AM, John Farrell at stridepiano@tesco.net wrote:

> Charlie Hooks said of his Hungarian trip :
> "Mimi Blais, the fine Montreal stride pianist was along."
> Mimi, with whom I have shared many good times (no, not that kind, you
> low-minded people) is certainly no stride pianist. She is a vivacious,
> classically trained French-Canadian musician who has metamorphosed into an
> unbelievably accomplished
> ragtime pianist. Her jaw-dropping keyboard technique (rags interlaced with
> the classics)
> always demoralises any other ragtime pianist who has the bad luck to
> appear on the same playbill.
> It is something like me being asked to follow Tatum - I think that I would
> just kill myself.
> John Farrell
> stridepiano@tesco.net
> http://homepages.tesco.net/~stridepiano/midifiles.htm
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John, you are absolutely correct about Mimi the Great!  Certainly didn't
mean to demean her.  To me, the appellation, "stride pianist," is a
compliment, not a degradation!  But you are right to correct any erroneous
impression.   Any of you people unfortunate enough not yet to have heard
Mimi Blais should live so long as to hear her rendition of "Flight of the
Bumble Bee" where she looks around suspiciously for the offending bug,
snatches at it with one hand while continuing the perfectly executed melody
with the other hand at a blistering tempo.

Mimi Blais is a concert pianist who made it for a time as an accompanist to
classical singers, then strode out (may I pun?) on her own, playing OKOM in
her own special blend of classics and jazz.  And you haven't lived until you
have hurtled through Hungary with Tomas driving (he is a skillful driver: if
he weren't, he would be dead!) and Mimi telling camel jokes in a Quebecois
accent.  Ah!  It was indeed a fine trip!

a good memory,