Floyd Cramer 1933-1997
Just got some great news tonight! My parents just got back from a concert in Alpena, Michigan and loved it! It was called "The Legacy of Floyd Cramer" Featuring Floyd's Grandson Jason Coleman on piano. Jason plays in the famed "Cramer" style. My mother really enjoyed it as she has been a fan of Floyd's since the 50's.
I grew up hearing Floyd Cramer's music, loudly I might add on Saturday afternoons when Mom was cleaning house. My mother has a very eclectic taste in music. She'd play Buddy Morrow's Night Train, Sarah Vaughan and of course tons of other classics. Floyd Cramer's "On the Rebound" was the song I remember her playing most.
As an adult I began revisiting the songs I heard as a little kid and now they are staples on in my vast I Tunes collection. Here is "On The Rebound (live 1965)" with Chet Atkins Tell me you don't do a little chair dance to this tune!
This video of "On The Rebound" is a classic as Floyd is playing alongside the legendary Chet Atkins founder of The Nashville Sound. Bear with the poor screen quality.. the audio is good! Sadly there is not a lot of live performances on Floyd online.
Floyd Cramer passed away December 31, 1997 six months after being diagnosed with cancer. My first thought was how sad.. no one could play piano like Floyd. Who could take his place?
Until... his grandson Jason Coleman began touring with The Legacy of Floyd Cramer. Gratefully Floyd's young grandson studied with his grand dad. So Floyd's music lives on for new generations.
It's a rare musician who perfects a signature style on his instrument, a sound so uniquely his that it becomes instantly identifiable and widely imitated. With a professional career spanning almost 50 years, Floyd Cramer was such a rare and gifted musician, his patented note-slurring piano style is just such a sound.
Exemplified by his moody 1960 instrumental smash hit, "Last Date," Cramer's signature sound harkens back to old time country fiddle players who added excitement to their music by sliding into the proper note of a melody from a half-step off. "It's an intentional mistake, but with a quick recovery," explained Cramer.
In the mid-1950s, pioneers of the pedal steel guitar enlarged on the technique. Cramer was already one of the most popular studio and touring musicians in Nashville's country music industry by 1959, the year he translated the fiddle/steel guitar technique to piano.
It instantly became "the Floyd Cramer style," a timeless technique that lends emotional coloration to any melody and remained his musical calling card ever since.
The soft spoken instrumentalist was born on October 27, 1933, in Shreveport, Louisiana, but raised in Huttig, Arkansas, a tiny sawmill town.
His interest in music emerged early, and his parents bought Cramer his first piano when he was only five y ears old. Never much for formal training or extensive practice drills, Cramer soon realized he had an innate gift for playing by ear.
Jason Floyd Coleman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on April 2, 1985. Blessed with talent inherited from his maternal grandfather, legendary keyboardist Floyd Cramer, he has played the piano since he was barely able to reach the keys.
Over time, Jason’s playing style has progressed and matured into an uncanny reflection of the signature stylings of his Grand dad, and he currently enjoys entertaining audiences by giving new life to Floyd’s beloved music.
At age five, he began taking piano lessons and continued for the next eight years. Though this formal training was important to his musical development and complemented his innate ability to play by ear.
Throughout his school-age years, he was constantly involved in church musicals and school choirs as both a vocalist and accompanist. After high school, Jason continued his studies at the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville. In May 2006, he graduated Magna Cum Laude, at the age of 21.
Jason began to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps at an early age, singing when he was only two years old on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry at one of Floyd’s concerts. He performed twice with Floyd on national TV: at age four, he sang while Floyd played on "Nashville Now," hosted by Ralph Emery; and as a nine-year-old, he played a memorable Christmas piano duet with his Grandad on "Music City Tonight," hosted by Lorriane Crook and Crystal Gayle.
As a solo artist, Jason has been featured in a number of local and regional concerts, festivals, and radio shows in recent years, and he has also performed for countless benefit concerts, receptions, and other events in and around Nashville.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of Jason’s burgeoning musical career occurred in May 2004, when he was given the honor of playing for the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony recognizing Floyd’s induction. It was an unforgettable performance with Jimmy Capps and the Opry Band, Hank Locklin, and Maura O'Connell, all in heartfelt tribute to his Grand dad's life and legacy.
Thank you Mom and Jason! Oh yes and thank you Mr. Cramer RIP