Amazing Solo Piano Recordings

I'm looking to get your oppinions on the best solo piano recordings available. Style or genre is not important as long as the recording is pristine, clear, open and in your oppinion AMAZING! Please if you can, state artist, label, etc., so we audiogoner's can buy 'em!
dick Hyman, "Recital"
Dick Hyman, "Plays Duke Ellington"
Dick Hyman, "Plays Fats Waller" All on Reference Recordings

Best solo jazz piano that I have ever heard, both for virtuosity and the sound is superb.
Hagood Hardy, "Alone". Hard to find, but the catalog reference on the CD sleeve is Solitudes Ltd., 1131A Leslie Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Canada M3C 3L8
and the catalog/item # on the CD itself is SOLCD02. This is a remarkable recording, both musically and from an engineering standpoint. Not all the selections are purely solo piano, as a drum set and string bass are also used on some tracks. Also would recommend any of the Jim Chappell CDs. (My personal favorite is "Nightsongs and Lulabies".
On LP (can't vouch for the CD)...
Nojima Plays Liszt - Reference Recordings RR25
Nojima Play Ravel - Reference Recordings RR35
These are superbly engineered recordings of
phenomenal performances
Moravec: Piano Works fo Debussy and Ravel - Athena ALSY 10002 (remastering of same from Connosseur Society recording CS 2010)
Moravec - Chopin: Nocturnes - Connoisseur Society CS 1065

Almost any of the Connoisseur Society piano recordings will be excellent - extremely natural, well balanced sound, with a listening perspective on the piano that matches a true listener's perspective in a small performing hall. No raz-a-ma-taz, just exceptionally natural sound.
Valentina Lisitsa amazing! Can get them from amazon. Beautiful recordings, open sound,very dramatic. Try shostokovich first.
Bill Evans "Conversations With Myself," Verve 20 bit CD reissue # 314 521 409-2. Now if I can only find it on vinyl! Enjoy!
Rushton's suggestions are excellent. They sound excellent on CD as well (the Connoisseur Society ones have been issued by VAI, and are among the most natural recordings of a piano you'll ever hear on CD). In addition, the most spectacularly dynamic piano recording I've ever heard is an RCA Direct to Disc, 45 rpm recording of the Beethoven Appassionata played by a Japanese woman whose name escapes me. Ronc played that one for me when I visited him, and I've borrowed a copy since, but it's out of print and tough to find used and in good condition. I'm not giving up on it though. Worth looking for. If you have a good vinyl rig and play it, you'll wonder what everyone is thinking when they complain about vinyl's limited dynamic range! Finally, I'll note that piano sounds especially natural on SACD--no problems capturing dynamics and transient attacks, as is usually the case with vinyl (not on the ones mentioned above or by Rushton), or the harmonic correctness you thought you could only get from analog. The new Perriah Goldberg Variations on Sony SACD is a superb recording and an excellent performance, maybe not Glen Gould but then no humming either.
Igor Kipnis: "The Young Beethoven" (Epiphany Recordings)
Perfect Saturday morning music. Very robust and rousing!
I concur with the Rayhall (Hyman recordings and Rushton (Nojima recordings) and thanks Rushton Rushton for the Moravec recommendation. I would like to add FATHA (Earl Hines) on M&K a direct to disc which can be procured directly through Miller Kreisel. Don't have the phone # on hand but if interested, e-mail and I will forward it. Dynamics on this recording are staggering and will certainly test your system. And the performance ain't to shabby either.
Bill Evans, "The Final Village Vanguard Sessions, 1980." Although there are many places where Bill is accompanied in his superb performance, his introspective and emotional playing makes it appear he is the only artist on stage. This may still be available from Mosiac as an LP, I know the CD is still available. Bill Evans passed away after this performance, and it remains one of the finest piano performances in my library. Each person has to decide what style and quality reaches inside them, this one does it for me.
Albert I also "Dig Bill Evans" May I recommend the JVC XRCD recordings of many of his works. For sonics with a real live sound James Welch Razamatazz albums on Wilson Recordings are among the best you'll find. Ragtime music on an upright grand piano. There are three of these albums (LP) and if you like rag you'll love these. Don't know about current availability as Wilson stopped producing records.
Tubegroover, great to hear from another Bill Evans fan! I think I have just about every recording he ever made (one entire shelf of LP's). I also own the Wilson/ James Welch recordings you mention on LP, and although I agree that the sonics are superb, the performance provided less emotional content for me. I do have one piano recording by Keith Jarrett that astounds me. It is on A&M Horizon, and also features Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane and Paul Motian. This is not only a passionate performance, it has an uncanny ability to capture the color, dynamics and realism that I rarely hear in a piano recording.
Here's a couple of nice ones that weren't mentioned above: Jean-Yves Thibaudet's "Conversations with Bill Evans" and George Winston's "Autumn."
Kieth Jarrett Check ECM Label for your choice. There are to many to list. Evan's "symbiosis"
Murray Perahia, "The Aldeburgh Recital" on Sony Classical. PRISTINE technique, touch and nuance, CLEAR sense of melodic line, OPEN to emotional content of the music, an AMAZING artist. Oh yeah, and the sound is great. Live ambience a plus. Best piano recording that I own.
Frogman, excellent suggestion, I'd forgotten about how good that one was--now I've got to listen to it again. And you can even spell his name, something I sure can't do. You should give his recent Goldberg Variations a listen--it gets better every time I listen to it, CD or SACD.
Rcprince, thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out. Regards.
Wow... I step away for a few days and come back to all these great recommendations! Thanks everyone.

Off to Amazon!
I listen to Dudley Moore's "Songs Without Words" for an occasional mellow piano fix. I used to have an album in the 70's called "Keith Jarrett Live at the Blue Note" that I liked (or so I thought), but now wonder if I imagined it (or have confused the title) as I cannot locate it on CD at the shops and clubs. Though not recordeded music, I was sitting in the bar of the now defunct Nucleus Nuance restaurant in Hollywood in the late 70's and listened to Herbie Hancock ramble around on a piano that was just off the bar. He wasn't scheduled to play or anything and was just waiting for a table to have dinner, like the rest of us. I didn't know who he was until the bartender told me but was very impressed with his playing. I have never really listened to his recorded music though, and had forgotten the incident until preparing this post.
Dekay, there is a box set release on ECM Records, called "Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note," that was released in 1994. It is a rather extensive set, with 38 pieces of music. Hope this helps.
Thanks Albert. I don't usually listen to much Jazz, but would love to relive this music. I am listening to a pianist tonight by the name of Evgeny Kissin. I'm on my second time through the disc and he is a very talented. I picked it up used without a liner so can just say that it is on RCA Red Seal/BMG, the music is by Chopin and the date is 1999. I may try to look it up on BMG to see if I can get the titles of the pieces that he is playing.
Thelonius Monk, "Alone in San Fransico". The Discs here to get are the Japanese (Prestige) K2 mastered editions. They come in cardboard Sleeves and can sometimes be found at Tower Records in their import section. The K2's, I believe, are a lesser version of the XRCD process. Retail $21-25. Anyhow, enough of the technobabble: this is great disk - warmth,detail and atmosphere - a perfect setting for the eccentric/brilliant Mr. Monk.
Marc Andre Hamelin plays Nicolai Medtner (4CD)(Hyperion)
Dinu Lipatti plays Chopin Waltzes (EMI). The Lipatti may be an older recording (51 or 52), but playing like that has never been recorded before, and probably never will. The Medtner of course is beautifully recorded; not to mention the fact that musically, it is a rare gem indeed. Enjoy!
1. Virtuosa valentina vol 2, audiofon HDCD
2. Beethoven works for piano-Yuri kim, Well-tempered productions
3. Eugene Istomin-Mozart-Reference recordings
4. Keith Jarret -La scala
5. Andras Schiff- Live at the concert ebouw
6.Dick Hymen Recital-Reference recordings
7. Larry willis- Solo spirit, Mapleshade
8. Douglas Allenbrook-Songs of love and death, Mapleshade- After first few tracks of soperano singing, solo piano playing is simply amazing.
Mike Garson, "The Oxnard Sessions" Vol. two. Reference Recordings.
Big ditto to the Keith Jarret suggestions - especially his solo concerts.
What about Keith Jarret "Facing You"?
I agree with the Oxnard Sessions--both volumes are very good. But the two best I own in terms of sound quality are Shefield D2D "the name is Machovich". This is not the greatest performance--but sound quality is fantastic. The other is Ito Ema playing the Goldberg Variations on MA records. Todd Garfunkel deserves a meddle for this one.
An unexpected pyrotechnic keyboard extravaganza can be found with pianist Fazil Say performing Mozart piano sonatas, K.330, K.331 and K.333., Atlantic CD 21970-2. Especially the allegro from K.333. The technique is dazzling. The recording is beyond pristine. It is rarified. You don't even have to like classical music to appreciate it. Capacity to count to 4 sequentially is more than sufficient. However, knowledge of sonata form along with the ability to solve simultaneous differential equations wouldn't hurt.
ditto all on keith jarrett. i actually find 'facing you' a bit technical but you cant go wrong with any jarrett. i'd recommend 'staircase' to start...of course, you ARE going to get these on vinyl, right? Right! All right, then. :)
OK -- something from deep in my memory banks and a much cheesier (as in Cheese Whiz) genre -- but Chuck Mangione's never even made it to the screen soundtrack to the apparently ill fated movie the "Children of Sanchez" . A late 70's double album that had reference quality piano in my opinion. If anyone has even heard of this I would be truly amazed and inspired but it really is amazing.
All of the solo piano recordings are top notch in audiophile sonic and artistry interpretation. J. Y. Song, and Chitose Okashiro are the best of the portfolio.

Don't buy 1, but 3 or 4 and avg price drops to $11.
I second (or 3rd 4th?) ECM and Keith Jarrett. Also G Gould Beethoven box on CBS (LP, cd-Sony Classical). Hey, Kubla, good to see you!
Try David Osborne...just exquisite...he only has around 11
cds out...i have them all...i like giovanni marradi too...his arrangements are hypnotic...he plays all styles ... erroll garner has a happy style..all his own...then theres david lantz...he's good too...also theres Dino..that has some good stuff that i like...all of them have ..that
great touch...on the classical end theres mozarts piano
sonatas, bethoveen piano sonatas...I like Daniel Barenboim
on the EMI label...but theres many others...Glenn Gould has
a Bach box set that I like too...
Abdullah Ibrahim's "African Dawn" is majestic.
Don't know if it was mentioned or still available but there was a recording on Conisseur (know it's spelled wrong) Society with a pianist named Banderas of Chopin Scherzos. One of the best ever made & worth searching for.
5th or 6thing Jarrett, but will single out
"Koln Concert"
24 Preludes and Fugues op 87 by Shostakovich, played by Tatiana Nikolayeva on Hyperion CDA 66441/3
Rach's Preludes & Moments musicaux, played by Nik. Luganski, Erato 8573-85769. Surprisingly good left hand, precise, crisp playing, yet filled with emotion.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned, Gershwin plays Gershwin, the Piano Rolls on Elektra/Nonesuch. Fabulous piano playing by the composer himself. The Rhapsody in Blue is a revelation. I think Mr. Tilson Thomas is going to have to re-think how it is played (I also have his Columbia cd). No dreamy eyed or studied performance this, it's rollicking kick ass jazz and frankly the way the piece should be played. Now if we can do something with an American orchestra, along the lines of what RCA did years ago to the Grieg piano concerto with a Percy Grainger piano roll and an Australian orchestra, we just might have the ultimate RiB. In a pinch my vinyl copy of Manhattan (with Gary Graffman and the NYP/Mehta will have to do). BTW does anybody know of a real good interpretation of the Gershwin Piano Concerto?
Chuck Leavell has a new solo piano album that I highly recommend!
Solo Monk
Bill Evans, Conversations with Myself
Ralph Sutton, At Cafe Des Copains (stride)
Ray Bryant has a number of solo albums that are lovely.
Cecil Taylor's solo recordings: percussive, very difficult to follow, but truly remarkable.
Matsuda (sp?) Uchido's Mozart Sonatas and Liszt Sonatas.
Murray Perahia's Bach's Goldberg Variations.
Glenn Gould's Bach's Goldberg Variations.
Alfred Brendel's Beethoven Sonatas, esp the 31st.
Keith Jarrett's Shostakovich's Preludes.
The Horowitz Collection on Sony.
Solo Monk.
Marilyn Crispell and Matthew Shipp are also great but they play mostly in group settings.

'Art Tatum - 20th Century Piano Genius' is the most amazing solo piano recording I have ever heard.

Monk and Bill Evans are excellent recommendations. I would add Herbie Nichols and Bud Powell to the list, although most of the great recordings from the last two (not to mention the best Monk, IMO) are in a band context.

I love these kinds of threads. It's great to find new music to check out.

A few other great piano solo suggestions:

Elmo Hope, Hope Full
Earl Fatha Hines, The Father of Modern Piano (5 LP Box Set)
Cecil Taylor, Silent Tongues.

Elmo Hope, like Herbie Nichols, was mostly overlooked while he was alive. He died young at the age of 43. Thanks to A.B. Spellman's excellent book, Four Lives, Herbie Nichols has become better known. Like Herbie Nichols, Elmo Hope was influenced by Theloneous Monk (and Bud Powell).

Earl Hines had a long career beginning in the late 20s. He was influenced by Teddy Wilson and the great Art Tatum. He had a comeback in the 1970s, when Earl Hines was in his 70s.

Cecil Taylor's style is more avant-garde. Some years ago, I heard Cecil Taylor play in a small theatre in Santa Fe, NM. I was blown away. His virtuosity is unsurpassed.

I love Bud Powell's music, particularly the Amazing Bud Powell series on Blue Note and the Essen Jazz Festival Concert. However, I am not familiar with any of his solo piano music.

I have not heard Art Tatum's 20th Century Piano Genius. Based on Waltersalas' recommendation, I will try to find it.
Let me also strontly recommend Art Tatum's 20th Century Piano Genius. It was recorded live in someone's apartment. The acoustics are remarkably life-like. You can hear occasional talking in the background, and Tatum and the party-giver engage in casual conversation throughout the two disc set. The effect is like being there at the party yourself in the presence of one of the greatest piano players of all time. The playing itself in awe-inspiring; you often have the impression that several people are playing at once, that no single individual could ever be capable of playing the way Tatum did. In a way, it's almost freakish at times. Fats Waller famously said "I play piano, but tonight [with Tatum around] God is in the house!" Horowitz too was bowled over by Tatum's playing. Don't miss this album.
I have recently run across Vladimir Horowitz, "The Last Recording" on Sony. This is a stunning recording, both artistically and sonically.
Rayhall: try Rachmaninoff 3 with Horowitz/Ormandy/NSO on Sony (or CBS LP). I think you'll like the '78 recording!
Sorry, no recommendations - just wanted to "tag" this thread so I can easily follow it. Great stuff - digging through my old lps for some Bill Evans - thanks Albertporter for reminding me.
OK, let's add Jessica Williams to the list. Amongst my favorites for her solos are:
In the Key of Monk
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall
The Next Step
Another JW fan! I cannot understand why Jessica Williams does not get the attention her amazing playing deserves. She has a bunch of self-produced CDs available on her web site, in addition to those listed above, and they're all wonderful. The self-produced ones may not be as well-recorded as some of the ones listed above and below but the recordings are all good-to-very good and her playing is exemplary, as always. Other excellent JW solo CDs, both beautifully recorded:

Ain't Misbehavin'
The Victoria Concert