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Dwayne Adell

Here in Washington, D.C., we are blessed to have in our midst some of the greatest musicians in the world. Pianist Dwayne Adell is near the top of that list. The listeners who were fortunate enough to hear one of Adell’s two sets at Bohemian Caverns on Friday, Feb. 17 are now, without a doubt, aware of this fact. Adell reads very little music. He has minimal knowledge of music theory. But upon hearing him play, it becomes plain that none of this matters. He has the ability to play virtually anything on the piano, from jazz to classical and everything in between, all by ear. He once placed first in an international classical piano competition, for which he learned challenging Rachmaninov pieces simply by listening to a recording; his mastery was so complete that he even added improvised variations. Adell was up against pianists who had been playing from a very young age, with training from some of the most revered conservatories on earth. None stood a chance against Adell’s ability to internalize an extremely difficult piece of music, and extrapolate from its melody and harmony. On Friday, this mastery translated into a magnificent display of improvised soul in a jazz piano trio . . . Dwayne Adell had proven that his mastery of the piano and the music rivals that of any of the greats, from Erroll Garner and Art Tatum, from Bud Powell to Oscar Peterson. We can only hope that one day, Adell will be able to tour and be recorded properly under correct circumstances, so his voice can be heard by audiences beyond the D.C. area.

Luke Stewart, February 26, 2012 in CapitalBop