Quite what started John's obsession with piano rolls I am not sure, but the pianola was there since my earliest memories and he was utterly determined to perfect his art and to produce piano roles that were true to the recordings of the early masters. One of his first methods was to use a hammer and a hand punch (I kid you not). Not quite as crude as the one in the picture - it was a tiny little punch, of the sort you might put a hole in a belt with. He drove us all insane with the constant tap tap tapping, maybe 15-20 punches just to put a single note in. Being something of a genius, he eventually designed a hand punch machine which did the job rather more quietly.
John was famous for his piano rolls. You can purchase them directly from the manufacturer in the US. Most of the rolls he released in past years have
been archived and are available at a small extra cost, go to the
Archived Piano Rolls page to view the extensive list of titles.Printed piano sheet music of the roll arrangements is also available for purchase on the sheet music page.
"For many years I have been making 88-note jazz piano rolls and have transcribed a considerable number of recordings by the great jazz pianists for use as source material."
The rolls are manufactured in the United States from
where orders are shipped to customers. The following titles are
currently available on the JAM label (you can preview all of them on
the MIDI file page of his original websie).
A rare glimpse of an early album cover, featuring a collection of John's original piano rolls.