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James Rhodes (known here as ‘Jimmy’) is every bit the modern-day rock-star pianist; he unashamedly wears jeans and trainers on stage and – horror of horrors! – actually speaks to his audience. Past albums have boasted very un-classical titles, such as Bullets and Lullabies, and slick-but-quirky artwork (once including Rhodes dressed as a clown), packaged with the pianist’s past struggles with personal demons. This disc, recorded at The Old Market in Brighton last year, continues in this vein, and is the first classical CD known to this writer that comes with the covering note ‘caution – explicit language’, because it includes Rhodes’s talks in between performances. Not everyone will appreciate his descriptions of the great masters (Bach is a ‘walking advert for Red Bull’, Beethoven a ‘genius tramp’, etc), but beneath the showmanship is real substance; what Rhodes has to say – and play – is infinitely interesting, pertinent and amusing, and will speak to a new audience.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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