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Hybrid Highbrow podcast #2: Arabesques from Debussy to Willie “the Lion” Smith

By popular demand I have produced my second Hybrid Highbrow podcast. It’s all about jazz and classical pieces that conform to the “arabesque” format.

Arabesques are often but not always written for the piano. Robert Schumann and Claude Debussy composed the most famous arabesques. But I also hear the arabesque spirit in the the work of stride/jazz pianist Willie “the Lion” Smith. Smith fought in France during the First World War and was loved by French audiences in the Second. Listen to Debussy’s Second Arabesque for piano and Smith’s famous etude titled Fingerbuster and tell me if you hear the similarities.

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