A poignant piano suite by the prolific African American composer William Grant Still is given an elegant performance by the versatile Steinway Artist, Ric’key Pageot.
“This suite encapsulates Still's easily recognizable writing style; melodically free, harmonically bold and the story telling of the Black American experience. It was originally written for orchestra, which premiered in 1933 by the Metropolitan Opera House and later arranged for solo piano. The story is based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The work is a musical picture of the meditations of Uncle Josh, an old Colored man who is the sole occupant of a dying plantation, and who delights in dreaming of its past glory, according to Still himself. Each of these three movements paints a different canvas - negro spiritual; lyrically and harmonically poignant; and juke joint blues.”
— Ric'key Pageot
William Grant Still: A Deserted Plantation / Ric'key Pageot • STNS 30216
Release Date: 2/3/2023
Recorded September 29,2021 and October 17, 2022 at Allegro Recordings, Burbank, California
Producer: Ric’key Pageot for CrazyglueMusic
Engineer: Matthew Snyder
Executive Producers: Jon Feidner for Steinway & Sons and Scott Power for Crewest Studio
Art Direction: Jackie Fugere
Design: Cover to Cover Design, Anilda Carrasquillo
Photos of Ric'key Pageot: Nilaya Sabnis
Production Assistant: Renée Oakford
Piano Technician: Bernard Alexander
Piano: Steinway Model D #519958
About the Artist
Montreal-born pianist, accordionist, producer, composer and music director, Ric’key Pageot comes from a musical family of Haitian descent. As a child he studied in the sought-after professional arts music program, Pierre-Laporte School in Montreal, studying classical piano, and taking advanced courses in music theory, history and ear training. During his time there, he performed as a recitalist and chamber musician, and as a chorister, performing in concert with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, led by Charles Dutoit, at the renowned Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at La Place Des Arts.
In 2002, Ric’key was hired to be part of the original cast of “Motown Generation,” the most successful Motown Music Review ever produced in Canada. In the following years he toured France with recording artist, Corneille, whose album ‘Parce qu’on Vient de Loin’ was certified double platinum in France and platinum in Canada. In 2005, Ric’key began to work with Cirque Du Soleil as a musical director, keyboardist and accordionist for the show “Delirium;” he was the youngest MD ever hired by the Quebec company. After the Delirium premier in Montreal, Pageot gave close to 200 performances in the U.S. alone. Billboard Magazine certified ‘Delirium’ as the 6th biggest grossing tour in North America in 2006.
After more than two years of touring the US and Europe with Delirium, Ric’key left the show and moved to Los Angeles with his wife and singer/songwriter Dessy Di Lauro. It was shortly after that move that Pageot got a call to go on tour with Madonna for her “Hard Candy” promo tour and “Sticky & Sweet” world tour. For these tours he was called on to play keyboards, piano and accordion. Since, Pageot has toured with Madonna on four world tours: Sticky & Sweet (2008-09) - highest grossing tour of all times by a solo female artist; MDNA (2012); Rebel Heart (2015) and Madame X (2019-20).
When he is not touring with Madonna, Pageot is leading his band Parlor Social with Dessy Di Lauro. Together they have designed a new and unique genre of original music they call Speakeasy-soul/Prohibition Funk, which seamlessly blends the styles of 1920-30’s Harlem renaissance jazz with today's contemporary urban sounds. In 2013, they released their debut album 'This Is Neo-Ragtime' to critics' acclaim. Their single, Jump N’ Jivin was featured throughout the 2015 ESPN TV broadcast of the NCAA women’s Final Four.
Parlor Social has performed notably at the Montreal International Jazz Festival; Blue Note Jazz Festival, Charlotte Jazz festival, the inaugural Dymally Jazz festival in Carson, CA and in 2018, Parlor Social performed their biggest show thus far at the fabulous Hollywood Bowl for the 40th annual Playboy Jazz Festival. In 2019 they went on their first headlining tour ‘Not Giving Up On You’ with cross-continental stops in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, and London.
On June 19th 2022, Pageot performed piano, celesta and keyboards with The Re-Collective Symphony Orchestra in a live CNN broadcast in celebration of Juneteenth with musical direction by Questlove and Adam Blackstone. They made history by becoming the first all-black symphony orchestra to perform at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Thomas Wilkins.
In an LA Times interview for the occasion, Pageot reflected on the importance of highlighting black composers shunned from classical music’s history books: ‘It’s up to our generation to pass the torch forward so that the next generation is not omitted from the opportunity of learning about these composers.’ Pageot is making it his mission to do so.
Pageot has also written and recorded with Earth Wind & Fire, Jill Scott, and up and coming R&B sensation Justin Park. He has also toured with major music icons such as Diana Ross, Cher, and Christina Aguilera.
About Steinway & Sons label
The STEINWAY & SONS music label produces exceptional albums of solo piano music across all genres. The label — a division of STEINWAY & SONS, maker of the world’s finest pianos — is a perfect vessel for producing the finest quality recordings by some of the most talented pianists in the world.