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Judy Carmichael on Stride Piano Favorites

Today’s top jazz performers pick 10 favorite tracks by the players, singers and styles that helped define them.

Fats Waller

When people hear me play, they often tell me, “You sure don’t look the part,” referring to their vision of a stride pianist as a Fats Waller look-alike. But I do look like a stride pianist-happy and energetic and, I like to think, full of humor. These are the things that attracted me to stride piano, a style that makes you feel better if you’re down and fantastic if you’re already in a good mood.

The recordings below are by pianists with disparate social and musical backgrounds. But they all share the humor, swing and power that makes stride appealing and timeless to everyone who hears it.

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