Researching key signatures in performances of “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams,” I made a discovery. Everyone else out there may have known about Olaf Polziehn, but he was new to me. After I heard him play the piece (in E-flat), further research turned up these facts: Polziehn is 40 years old. He was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany. He is professor of jazz piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. That is where the expatriate American composer, arranger and trombonist Ed Partyka is chairman of the jazz department, Dena DeRose is a professor of voice and Ed Neumeister a professor of composition, arranging and trombone. Clearly, things are happening in Graz.
Polziehn has played with, among others, Bob Mintzer, John Riley, Harry Allen, Scott Hamilton, Patti Austin and Warren Vaché. In the video of his unaccompanied version of “Wrap Your Troubles…,” we see the only a three-quarters view of the back of his head. So here, on the right, is what he looks like. Now, press play and you’ll hear what he sounded like at the Stride + Swing Piano Summit in Switzerland in 2008.
If you’re curious, the original key of Billy Moll’s, Harry Barris’ and Ted Koehler’s “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (1931) was C. If you’d like to hear a splendid version in B-Flat, click here for Hampton Hawes with Harold Land, Scott LaFaro and Frank Butler from Hawes’ album For Real.