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Felix 'Sugar Fingers' Roach performs well-known gospel tunes on the Bosendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano in the Lord Kitchener (Aldwin Roberts) auditorium located at the National Academy for the Performing Arts.
"In spite of being a very talented and versatile arranger/accompanist, I fervently believed that Felix's strong suit as a soloist remained substantially unfulfilled. I knew intuitively that this type of repertoire would have to be performed on something very special, a Bosendorfer. Nothing else would guarantee an interface for seamless connectivity between this virtuoso musician and his toy: a hitherto elusive experience...
"...my audiophile palate yearned for the surreal, ethereal, palpable sound of a 97-key Imperial Concert Grand, the Bosendorfer reference piano. The series has undergone numerous iterations and has been meticulously hand-crafted like no other in Austria by artisans for over 250 years...
"...the opportunity beckoned on April 19, 2011. Permission was granted for Felix to perform in situ for 'testing the acoustics' of the Lord Kitchener (Aldwin Roberts) auditorium located at the newly constructed National Academy for the Performing Arts. We began promptly at 5:30 pm only to discover this brand new instrument had not been adequately prepared.
"My niece in England will admonish me for recording on a piano that was not optimised for the occasion", mused Felix sheepishly. He promptly summoned his favourite technician Lance Smith "who will be here within half an hour". Armed with his proverbial bag of tricks, Smith had the new Bosendorfer 'singing' by 7pm and we were underway.
"With the sounding board open at full throttle, I positioned the microphones to give listeners a perspective of being the musician. Felix caressed the piano effortlessly, flawlessly and uninterruptedly for 75 minutes. As he played, I would sometimes meander about the hall, auditioning from different seating positions, mentally assessing the space and storing my findings in aural memory.
"Occasionally I poked my head into the bowels of the huge instrument to savour the intoxicating (F)elixir! As Felix played, an exotic blend of fundamental frequencies, harmonics and beats oozed angelically from the highly-glossed sounding board. The fare was complex, powerful and awesome; I felt as if I were sipping slowly from a mountain spring, savouring the reservoir of unpolluted water. But for the majority of the session I sat at the console, auditioning with a pair of Sennheiser HD650 headphones and eyes wide shut.
"It was the second occasion in my life that I had had a personal encounter with such a majestic instrument. Somewhere in the early nineties, Carol Rosenberger had entertained me with her own 'Bosie' at home during one of my visits to her company Delos International in Los Angeles; but today's situation was entirely different.
"It was my solemn duty to faithfully capture and preserve Felix's repertoire for the listening pleasure of future generations, in perpetuity - one hell of a responsibility.
"Undaunted by my herculean assignment, I left my body in the auditorium as my Ka drifted into the astral domain. It floated aimlessly, propelled by a zephyr as the new hammers hit the strings, disturbing the surrounding molecules of air to produce a gentle sound. I was as close to St. Peter as I have ever been since leaving the sublime comfort of my mother's womb...
"The indefatigable Felix "Sugar Fingers" Roach continues to be one of my role models. He is the epitome of fundamental virtues and values that are vanishing at an exponentially alarming rate in today's modern society - tolerance, modesty, patience, love, respect, dignity, discipline, perseverance, humility, and integrity - but most of all deep appreciation for soothing acoustic music." - Simeon L. Sandiford, Executive Producer, April 2011
* Some covers have misprinted tracks #2 and #3, but are correct on CD.*
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Made in the USA
Total playing time: 70:06
Recorded in Trinidad and Tobago