Alex HassanAlex Hassan is considered one of the leading authorities on Novelty Piano, and is working as a performer, recording artist, and collector to preserve and promote this syncopated music.
Background on Alex Hassan Alex Hassan is a Northern Virginian pianist thoroughly immersed in the musical styles and arrangements of the 20s and 30s (there may be a dozen or so melodies in his post-1939 repertoire). Utilizing the resources of over 1600 syncopated/novelty piano solo 78s, a comprehensive sheet music collection (some 30000 sheets), fairly broad classical training, and an intense love of this nebulous, somewhere between classical and jazz, idiom, Alex recreates the spirited and glorious melodies of the Golden Age of popular music.
Amongst the highlights of his musical career, Alex counts performances at the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Smithsonian, Scott Joplin Festival (Sedalia, MO), Rocky Mountain Ragtime Festival (Boulder, CO), Stanford University, Pizza-On-The-Park (London), Player's Club (Manhattan--a party for the Gershwin family), Toronto's McMichael art gallery, Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, the El Segundo Ragfest (CA), and concerts for ragtime societies in St. Louis, Sacramento and Indianapolis. Since 1991, he has given 9 solo recitals for the two Billy Mayerl societies of England, recording extensively at one of the Mayerl concert venues, as well as the BBC. Alex is the regular pianist with Washington's Interact Theatre Co., having performed numerous runs of original shows, spotlighting the music of Ivor Novello and comedy/music of Joyce Grenfell--shows nominated for various local "Helen Hayes" awards. He has made both piano roll and piano diskette (Pianomation) recordings for Buffalo's QRS Piano Roll Co.; a CD has been issued by Pennsylvania's Stomp Off Records of solo novelty piano recordings done at the BBC, both in 1993 and 1996 (reviewed very positively in the February 1998 "Jazz Journal", as well as the "Mississippi Rag").
Four CDs are now available, recorded in England, issued by the English company "Shellwood Productions". The first received an embarrassingly good review in the January 1998 issue of the British "Gramophone" magazine, the reviewer of which later hailing it as among his favorite (perhaps he said "favourite"!) 6 CDs of the year. A CD of tunes from those rollicking Vitaphone shorts of the 30s has been issued by a local DC area company, Maestoso Records, in which Alex performs solo and accompanies two marvelous Washington area singers. A couple of other CDs are in the works, and should be available sometime in 2003. Alex can be heard frequently performing for the Northern Virginia Ragtime Society, one of the longest-lived organizations of its kind (over 20 years), of which he is current president.
Oh, yes....Alex works for the Defense Dept.---you see, there's wife, 2 young'uns and a mortgage...
Send email to Alex at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Solo Piano CDs by Alex Hassan
Rediscoveries (Volume 1)Available from
"In Billy Mayerl circles Alex Hassan has been a legend for some years......Some say there has been no one to equal him since Mayerl himself. And here he is on CD at last."
-------"Gramophone" magazine, Jan 1998-------
This brilliant American pianist brings a breath of fresh air to these wonderful old pieces many of which are recorded here for the first time. Any Billy Mayerl fan will be fascinated to hear the unique arrangements of some of Billy's songs. The syncopated piano music of Lothar Perl (all his published works in this idiom) are also a first recorded performance.
Rediscoveries Volume 1 track list (click on the title for more info)
HARRY WARREN: Jeepers Creepers Available from Shellwood Productions
and direct from the artist for $16.50, postpaid
If you ever wondered who wrote a sizeable fraction of the most hummable songs of the 30s, the semi-mystery is solved. Alex arranges, this time on Disklavier, a very healthy number of Harry Warren's tunes, written while he was under contract to both Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox. Some standards, some should've-been-standards ...To quote our pianist: 'It's so much easier to arrange when you're working with truly great melodies!'
HARRY WARREN - Jeepers Creepers track list (click on the title for more info)
Honeymoon For Three Available from Shellwood Productions
and direct from the artist for $16.50, postpaid
Alex unites with two wonderfully idiomatic singer friends, Rob Petillo (tenor) and Alison Taffs (mezzo) to revive no fewer than 24 glorious melodies by Billy Mayerl. Of the 120 or so songs that Mayerl wrote, mostly for shows in the 1930s, there are a large number of unjustly neglected gems, of which we get a generous sampling here complete with Alex's period-style accompaniments. Take a listen, and we think that you'll be amazed that you've never heard any of these great tunes before!
HONEYMOON FOR THREE track list (click on the title for more info and *audio excerpts* in MP3 format)
ERNST FISCHER: Sunny Morning Available from Shellwood Productions
Here's a CD devoted to the light piano music of the German composer Ernst Fischer. Program notes in English and in German.
ERNST FISCHER - Sunny Morning track list (click on the title for more info)
Kickin' Up The Dust - Maestoso Records CD MR-103 Available direct from the artist for $16.50, postpaid
This CD, the inaugural release by the new company Maestoso Records, is truly a time machine! Alex and the singers Rosa Lamoreaux (soprano) and Robert Petillo (tenor) recreate the style of the 1930's in presenting these delightful and largely neglected melodies -- many never published -- from great pre-swing era of the Vitaphone Shorts. Composers featured include Sanford Green (still living!) and Cliff Hess. From the beautiful torch song "Alone" to the inimitable "One Hamburger for Madame" these tunes are sure to keep a smile on your face and your toes tapping!
Kickin' The Dust track list (click on the title for more info with *audio excerpts* in MP3 format)