Dudley Moore used the tools he was born with to climb life’s ladder; his shortened height, his dextrous fingers and his sophisticated brain. Though small in stature at five foot two inches and with club feet, ‘Cudley Dudley’ compensated with musical hands of status that travelled the width and breadth of the digital piano like a whirling dervish and got Mr Moore the musical attention he sought. Of course Dudley Moore was also a celebrated English actor and comedian in his own right and was equally known in the trade for his double –act with the similarly talented Peter Cooke. Even when Moore played a comic character in films such as ‘Authur’ and ‘10’, his musical side always shine through but his accomplishment as a jazz digital piano player was never in doubt. Dudley Moore was a musical genius at the keys and with his passing twelve years ago in March 2002 will always leave many wanting Moore.
Dudley Moore & More
Dudley Moore played digital grand piano with the best including his own self-named trio and a close partnership with legendary music duo Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine in the 60’s. His awards and accolades are admirable and favourite tracks amongst his repertoire include ‘’My Blue Heaven’’ – an ironic choice from a man who was later to suffer an underserving illness and subsequent death.
My Blue Heaven
The track was a Rhythm and Blues standard written in the early 20s and covered by many an artist as late as 2004. The original has that speckled; crackling HMV quality throughout as the vinyl spins round to the crooning vocal lines of Gene Austin. The backdrop of solo cello and call-and-response digital piano motifs open the proceedings and pave the way for the lyrics:
C A D G C G
‘When whipperwills call and evening is nigh, I hurry to my- blue- heaven’’.
Less Is Moore
Covers from solo vocal to full-scaled orchestral arrangements have been recorded in the name of ‘My Blue Heaven’. The Dudley Moore trio got the balance right with their less is more version with Moore tinkling the digital piano ivories accompanied by upright bass and drum kit. This 60’s instrumental has all the verve of the original plus its own polished spin that pours from our ‘cudley’ clown. The digital piano distorts weave their magic but always discernible as the walking bass line and ride strokes keep the beat whilst fragments of ‘’Just Molly and Me’’ poke through. Dudley leaves his live audience speechless over his musical prowess and in the words of a hungry Oliver Twist: ‘’Please sir, can I have some Moore’’.