Piano Demon

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George competition, in order to finally face her demon. Abby knows there is a mystical connection between Margot and the demon: music. Archie Driscoll is a new field agent of the Guild, still trying to master his enhanced powers. He is surprised that Abby taps him to find and destroy the demon while protecting Margot. Aside from her job as judge of the music competition and he a competitor, her career is reaching into new directions and she will be traveling lot.

Commitment is impossible for both of them. I caressed the faded ivory keys of the Cristofori pianoforte, hesitant, hopeful, like approaching a new lover. This was one of the first instruments to be called a piano, forte or otherwise. One of five left built by the noted instrument maker.

It dated to and was the oldest instrument in the collection of the St. George Conservatory of Music. The ivory warmed to my touch, almost begging me to press the keys, to allow me to coax music from them. My heart beat faster in anticipation.

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Remnants of the castle remained, and the chapel was still attached, though the connecting door that had been sealed ages ago. I heard a deep sigh in the back of my head. My eyes opened wide. George Manor. Students at this special conservatory whispered tales. Faculty denied the stories. Servants warned newcomers out loud.

piano demon

The administrators scoffed. The voice knew my name. Atavistic chills ran up and down my spine and extended into my hands. You are the only one worthy to play me.

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None of the others competing in this gathering deserve me. I deserve your genius.

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She finally met a man at a certain hall, ran away with him, and was subsequently deserted. When arrested she was living in a disorderly flat with Negroes.

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But once the clubs were deprived of their ability to profit from the sale of booze, the moralists hoped, the jazz fad would be replaced by more wholesome entertainments. If the producers have come to a realization of the fact, we can look forward to the theatrical future with a stronger hope than ever before. Thompson had every reason to avoid upsetting his electoral base, so he turned a blind eye to the rapid proliferation of Prohibition-bending jazz clubs around State Street, Washington Park, and other South Side neighborhoods.

As a result, when Teddy Weatherford was cut loose in Chicago, he had no trouble finding piano work in a series of seedy cabarets. Drunken patrons sometimes lunged at each other with butcher knives, but the teenage Weatherford got the chance to earn some money and hone his skills. He quickly gained minor renown not only for his playing, but also for his oversize personality; an inveterate prankster with a love for hooch, Weatherford was a magnet for attention. Located in an old chop-suey joint and owned by a mobbed-up Frenchman, the Moulin Rouge evoked the bordello feel of its Parisian namesake: walls lined with red velvet wallpaper, balconies flecked with gold leaf.

Its tuxedoed staff was known for its tolerance of hip flasks and for generously providing covert tipplers with glasses of soda or tonic. Though located in a decidedly white part of town, the Moulin Rouge was eager to hire black musicians, the better to attract a large mixed-race crowd.

Two years later, its facade was destroyed in a firebombing blamed on a rivalry with competing clubs. Weatherford had been chosen right around the same time as an equally lauded up-and-comer, a young New Orleans—born cornetist named Louis Armstrong. Things were moving fast for the pianist, who had yet to celebrate his 23rd birthday. Still, Weatherford was getting restless. As his bandmate Preston Jackson would later recall, Weatherford had a powerful thirst for recognition, one that could never be sated until he was considered a pianist without peer.

And Carter offered up an option that Weatherford had probably never imagined: the Far East. Since , Carter had been leading a cabaret show in Shanghai—a mixture of song, dance, and comedy, all performed by African-Americans like himself. The Shanghai audiences loved it, and now Carter was preparing to take the show on the road to Southeast Asia.


He had come to Chicago in search of fresh talent. Carter assured Weatherford that he would be treated like a king as the band sailed from port to port throughout the South China Sea. To the chagrin of Chicago jazz fans, the former child coal miner decided to indulge his taste for adventure. While it is obviously beneficial to be able to stretch across a great many keys, meaty fingers tend to be clumsy fingers. But Weatherford combined reach with precision; even when sprinting across the entire keyboard, he never got sloppy. Each note rang full and true. Those mammoth hands also enabled Weatherford to develop a uniquely physical style of playing.

Stride relied on the left hand to alternate between a walking bass and chords, leaving the right hand free to dazzle with melodic flourishes copped from multiple genres: the rapid arpeggios of classical, the soulful licks of blues. The result was a sound often mistaken for the work of two pianists playing in tandem. Weatherford was also a showman, having cultivated a flair for drama while playing small-time joints in Bluefield. Over six feet tall and built like a tank, Weatherford was a commanding presence.

He could lay back in the cut and build a little tension before bursting forth with a Paganini-like display of virtuosity. That gift for performance would soon turn Weatherford into an international star. Desperate to hang on to the jewel of their small realm, Sun and his generals resorted to a campaign of terror against Shanghai residents suspected of KMT sympathies. A runner is sent to summon the execution patrol, which comes up with the headsman swinging his bared blade.

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The culprit is forced to his knees as the soldiers keep the crowd back. A moment later his head is being fastened to a wooden cage, which always is ready, and nailed to a pole for the contemplation of the populace. Paramilitaries allied with the KMT massacred thousands of civilians suspected of Communist ties, and strikers were gunned down indiscriminately as they took to the streets. Shanghai became a police state, and political rabble-rousers frequently disappeared. Yet the tens of thousands of foreigners who called the city home—and for whose entertainment the Jack Carter Orchestra, with Teddy Weatherford on piano, had been imported—caroused right through the violence.

Cloistered in sections of the city reserved for non-Chinese and protected by thousands of American and British troops, these American and European expatriates enjoyed lives of supreme comfort, awash not in blood but in money generated by any number of shadowy schemes, notably the burgeoning opium trade. Shanghai abounded with leisure opportunities for the fortunate denizens of the international precincts. Elegant dinners and dances were a nightly ritual, often followed by bouts of slumming. An American journalist with a racist streak and a taste for vice described some of the entertainments available to the foreign residents, commonly known as Shanghailanders:.

And you bought your ticket and danced with them, and if you invited one of them to your table, you had to pay something extra and the girl had apple cider that turned into champagne on your chit. But if you wanted to go home with her, she would have to ask the management first And you might wind up in "Blood Alley," where you went to get as much local color as possible, among the drunken soldiers and sailors of the armies and navies of the world. Obsessed with hipness and style, the Shanghailanders fetishized black jazz musicians.

The Jack Carter Orchestra thus commanded a handsome price for its show, which provided a slickly packaged taste of African-American culture—or, more accurately, what foreigners expected African-American culture to be. The routine rarely failed to bring down the house.

Fellow musicians were enraptured by his skill at the ivories, even though he had but a single solo in the Jack Carter show. They descended on the Oost Java for the Jack Carter show only to discover that, for the first time ever, the club would be charging a hefty cover fee.

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  4. To add salt to the wound, the club erected a bamboo fence along its perimeter to prevent nonpaying spectators from catching a glimpse of the Americans. But some brave fans would not be denied their first exposure to authentic live jazz. Surely it is that they are entirely un-selfconscious. It is said that these artists never offer a dance in just the same way two nights running. Carter and Snow decided to return to the United States, but Weatherford declined a ticket home.

    There was still money to be made in China. The esteemed writer had spent much of the previous year trekking across Central Asia after an ill-fated attempt to make a movie in Moscow. He had spent nights in sheepskin yurts on the Eurasian steppe, communed with Jewish poets in the Uzbek city of Bukhara, and gotten tipsy on cognac with oversexed Tajik soldiers.