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Preview: NajPonk


YENTOCS. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I was to wake up one day and decide to spell my surname backwards. Would I suddenly be confused for Alan Yentob? What might be the consequences if I was?

But I have just discovered a Czech pianist who’s really done it. Born by the name of Jan Knop, his preferred trading style, his nom de guerre is the reverse spelling of his given name.

NajPonk launches a new solo piano CD, “Just for my Friends” (Cube-Metier) this Sunday at the Vortex.

Steady now. Nobody’s going to do themselves any damage on any cutting edges here. This is a record mostly of softly-spoken standards, plus a blues dedicated to George Mraz, the legendary Czech bassist with whom NajPonk has worked.

For me the highlight was an unforced account of Victor Young’s Love Letters. The CD was recorded live in front of a well-behaved yet appreciative audience in May 2009 in that shrine of the sedate, Cheltenham.

There is streaming audio at Czecheverything. The piano is an Ibach, nicely recorded.

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