The year begins with a musical explosion! Another jam-packed fantastic new album from Jon entitled “Retro Piano Pops” containing over 20 wildly-varying pieces and styles. From the mesmerically-uplifting “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to the rinky-dink vaudeville magic of “Alley Cat”; from a Bert-Kaempfert-styled “Bye Bye Blues” to a rock-tacular “Entertainer Rock/Rag” Jon’s range and musicality continues to amaze.
Always seeking interesting new music, a newly downloadable single featuring an up-beat modern twist on the much-loved theme to hit TV show “Downton Abbey” is universally liked by fans and marks the first time he‘s worked with an independent orchestrator (Gary Richardson) on a project, who, on this recording, brings to life the haunting strings indicative of the show‘s impactful character.
A regional Television Show project (similar to this clip) is in pre-production where Jon will likely host a variety of entertainers from across New England appearing at Performing Arts, clubs and concert venues. Jon’s own unique musical-performer's insight will draw out the artistic and creative process featuring in-studio and live performances… stay tuned.
Relocating with his family to New England affords Jon the opportunity to bring his music to an ever-wider audience while continuing to dazzle new and established fans at his ocean-wide shows aboard luxury Cruise Liners.
Trips to Europe, South America and the Caribbean further cement Jon’s reputation as one of the world’s most traveled Entertainers. Drawing inspiration from every place visited (including the Greek Islands prompting this gorgeous latin-style re-working of the Demis Roussos/Julio Iglesias hit "Ever and Ever" ... and every person met, Jon’s flabbergastingly-amazing repertoire takes in recent chart hits, long-lost gems and a new Pops album is in the works.
Jon also releases a brand-new Double CD entitled “Classically Inspired” featuring 25 instantly-recognizable Pop hits from Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and others, plus six self-composed classically-styled new gems. These pieces feature in live-presentations of “Classically Inspired” in select venues around New England and the showrooms of ocean-going show palaces.
Closer to home, Jon rocks one of the regions' favorite Holiday Spectaculars… performing Christmas-Themed shows for packed houses with timeless Rock’n’Roll, Jump-Swing and Pop renditions of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, ‘White Christmas’, ’Oh Holy Night’ as well as Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
Jon's new Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/JonEnglandPiano offers new musical features and online musical connections as well as other artisans using Jon’s music in their own projects. Be sure to 'like' the page to receive updates, new releases and special features.
Much in demand on the high seas, Jon sees ‘home’ only occasionally this Spring engaging in globe-trotting voyages and the creation of much new music. A piano tribute to French national treasure Paul Mauriat, composer of “Love Is Blue”, with which Peter Nero had considerable success in America is a new highlight of Jon’s concert repertoire.
Taking a leaf out of “Vegas Showman” Liberace’s playbook - Jon orchestrates and performs his own interpretation of “Boogie-Woogie” much to the participatory delight of the audience aboard yet another luxury liner. Mr. Showmanship’s most requested tune ever, George Gershwin's “Rhapsody In Blue” is given a unique “Velvet Piano” makeover and receives a grand reception every time.
The Queen Mother's favourite British piano-star of the ‘50s and 60’s Russ Conway’s music prompts many audience requests so Jon re-creates his famous Jangly-Honky-Tonk piano sound on a faithful re-working of “SideSaddle”.A rock-and-roll interpretation of another Conway top-seller “Roulette” is in the works, while his big international hit “China Tea” is already receiving rave reviews from Jon’s ocean-going audiences.
Luxury cruise line SilverSea’s guests enjoy Jon’s shows each time he’s aboard; lately, he’s been asked to perform his brand new “Classically Inspired” concert presentation. This solo show is a culmination of 30 years of remarkable listening and development in Jon’s phonographic memory. Instantly recognizable favorites from timeless masters Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Massenet along with ‘modernists’ George Gershwin, Richard Addinsell, Vladimir Cosma and Joaquin Rodrigo. Take a look and listen to this captivatingly reflective and relaxing double-album here.
If the mood is right, the audience may also be treated to a beautiful video tribute to Lilia, (Jon’s daughter) with a touchingly sentimental newborn-to-present-day video accompanied by a unique composition “Lilia’s Lullaby”.
Composing has often taken a quiet back-seat to Jon’s performing activities over the years but, with viewership of his broadcast shows on YouTube now topping 750,000 Jon has taken time to record several of his own melodies for which sheet music has been scored by top London arrangers. “Riviera Rhapsody” composed back in 2002, and named for the ultra-exclusive English resort where Jon staged performances ; “Zosia” and “Reve De Jeunesse” are romantically-haunting themes in search of a Hollywood movie. Interested Directors, take note
Jon’s English childhood coastal upbringing is revisited as the lure of the ocean - specifically Holland-America Line’s brand new flagship M/V ‘Rotterdam’ - beckons once again.
Having last cruised in 2000 - the year which saw Jon move to the States to formalize his love for his bride Margaret whom he met the prior Autumn in the Mediterranean aboard a luxury liner while on board headlining his own shows - Jon again packed up his traveling trunk and joined the vessel in Tahiti. Relaxedly journeying to San Diego, Jon performs to packed houses … in between snorkeling adventures, sunbathing and enjoying the Pacific! Incidentally - ‘No’, Jon does NOT take his own piano!
Further outings quickly follow including several passages through the Panama Canal, jaunts in the Caribbean, to and from Honolulu and South America - this time with Silver Sea Cruises, and aboard Cunard Line’s iconic new super-liner, the Queen Victoria - where Jon reunited with several entertainers and crew from his very first voyage as a professional entertainer in 1980. Jon’s wife Margaret observes Jon’s physique upon his return, commenting “I see the famous English Afternoon Tea ceremony was well attended!” Watch the video here
The digital world grows it’s influence and Jon keeps up with his new albums and singles by going on-line. iTunes, Amazon, Last FM, Rhapsody, Napster, Nokia, Zune, Shockhound are among the legion of new cyber-space music stores which offer almost all of Jon’s staggering 28-album output. Check out Jon’s download page here, where you can select and listen to Jon’s music before considering a purchase.
Carving out time in his busy schedule to ensure his audiences get their “Velvet Piano” fix, Jon completes mastering of two new solo CD albums entitled “Sentimental Serenade" and "Romantic Rhapsody”. This is Jon’s first online-exclusive recording and the widespread geography of Jon’s new online fan base amazes both Jon and his record company Azurre Music as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia and Eastern Europe are among the most numerous downloads - and these are places where Jon has yet to perform!
A new feature for Jon is the release of several significant ‘singles’ - the theme from “Love Story” (from the smash-hit tear-jerker from the 1970‘s) , “My Heart Will Go On” (from the movie ‘Titanic’), “Santa’s Serenade” (3 Holiday-themed, jazz-oriented Festive must-haves performed as “The Jentlemen Of Jazz” where Jon’s piano and orchestra plays alongside the smooth trombone & trumpet Meister, Jack Pindell) and “Christmas Time Is Here” (the Charlie Brown Christmas song by Vince Guraldi)
Billy Joel’s heartfelt tribute to womanhood “She’s Always A Woman To Me” has long been a “Velvet Piano” audience favorite and the John Lewis department store in Great Britain chose Fyfe Dangerfield’s dreamy rendition to underscore a particularly affecting Seasonal television commercial. Jon (now a confirmed fan of being a ‘Dad’) decided to create his own version which you can watch here.
The technological revolution is in full swing and, with an unbeatable home-based calling (his new daughter Lilia and American-born wife Margaret), Jon sets to work inearnest in his recording studios (video AND audio) generating new material every day. Concentrating, as always, on multi-million selling favorites, Jon begins a new incarnation of the “Velvet Piano” show, taking advantage of the new and exciting broadcasting opportunities on YouTube.
Filming begins on the first segments of his “Velvet Piano” show - aimed directly at stay-at-home audiences and his existing fan-base. Taking his highly entertaining and successful “At Your Request” formula originally pioneered on BBC Radio in England - Jon performs fully orchestrated hits from his album catalog, along with audience favorites and the occasional inclusion of a number from his “Royally Entertained” DVD/CD combo. Viewers already top 250,000 and favorite musical requests come in daily for inclusion in the show. Elton John's "Your Song", Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" vie with Neil Sedaka's "Laughter In The Rain", '70s heart-throb David Gates' mega-hit "If (A Picture Paints A Thousand Words)", and John Lennon's peace anthem "Imagine". Movie themes, always popular, are represented by "Remember" from 'Cinema Paradiso' and "Somewhere In Time" from the Christopher Reeve/Jayne Seymour time-travel picture.
Visits with friends and family in England fit nicely into an informal performance schedule where Jon delights audiences with his ever-more-Americanized show music while honoring original English giants such as Noel Coward and the Beatles in his phenomenal, self-taught repertoire.
Following a musical fact-finding/performance tour around Europe - Jon returns Stateside and focuses on his core audience in America by taking his “Royally Entertained” show to Branson, Missouri - the mid-Western mecca where family values sit right up alongside a home-town appreciation for ‘Music with a Melody’.
Meeting legends Daniel O’Donnell, Andy Williams, Tony Orlando and Johnny Mathis provides professional and musical insight while greatly enhancing Jon’s understanding of the ‘easy-listening’ magic that these fellow entertainers offer their audiences. Jon trades stories with Shoji Tabuchi (the best-kept secret multi-millionaire Japanese violinist), comedy-musician Jim Stafford, Larry Gatlin, and the “King of Country Keyboard” Mickey Gilley.
While thoroughly enjoyed by many enthusiastic show-goers (see reviews), the already severely biting recession, disastrous unprecedented seasonal weather conditions and huge gas-price increases put a severe dent in even well-established but struggling Branson shows (which see some leave the area and many more close down and/or contract their schedules) eventually persuade Jon to re-join his young family on the East coast - to re-group and branch out anew.
With the ever-evolving nature of the entertainment market, the Carolina Opry stage is transformed every other night into a psychedelic musical dreamworld as baby-boomers relive their car-radio-filled youth in the “Good Vibrations”show. Jon dishes out dynamically different fare as he opens the show with a must-see solo spot showcasing his edgier side with Elton John and Stevie Wonder hits while comically tottering on glittering platform boots!
Returning to his customary elegancel ater in the sell-out show, he and the outstanding house orchestra feature a funk-driven “Entertainer Rock” (notionally composed here by Scott Joplin!), followed by the elegant tear-jerker“Love Story” and the seat-shuddering movie anthem “Chariots Of Fire”.
An invitation direct from the producers of NBC's "America's Got Talent" to appear on the show result in a brief, yet enjoyable appearance on the L.A. segment of the show (the one which showcased the talented Terry Fator with whom Jon became fast friends). Jon's over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek, riotously-costumed "New York, New York" was greatly enjoyed by fellow UK/US transplant and entertainment denizen, panel judge Sharon Osbourne.
Living the Legend - King of the Keyboard 2007-2008
Always an afficionado of Liberace's performing style and remarkably varied pianistic skill, Jon was this year invited to participate in the International Piano Competition bearing his name in Las Vegas. On Sunday September 16th, Jon took the coveted "Showmanship Professional" prize title in a packed field of contestants from all corners of the globe.
Lavishly filling his alloted five-minute showcase, Jon played "Blue Danube Waltz" (a Liberace creation, care-of Johann Strauss!), a Chopin interlude, "New York, New York", "Nola", "Lara's Theme" from the movie 'Dr. Zhivago', "As Time Goes By" from the movie 'Casablanca', George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" and "Tea For Two".
Receiving his Liberace-inspired piano-shaped crystaline inscribed trophy from the Liberace Foundation President in front of a packed and rapturous audience, Jon was congratulated on his dazzling, flawless and unique tribute to the finest pop-pianist to have ruled the keyboard in Las Vegas and around the world. You'll see from the photograph here, that the hand-made, rhinestone-encrusted stage-costume might have had something of a hand in the judges decision too!
ABC-TV (among others) covered the story with an in-home biography - watch the video here.
From January 2003 to November 2007 (around 1500 shows!)
From the moment the immaculately and flamboyantly tailored "Velvet Piano" player Jon England authoritatively and welcomingly takes to the stage at the Grand Strand’s premiere Entertainment Palace in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, it's no surprise the audience spontaneously breaks into applause without any introductory music or emcee announcement. Folks are simply responding naturally to the most charming, gifted and truly attractive entertainer to have crossed the Atlantic for a long time. Proudly flying his home-nation British flag (courtesy of his un-missable double-Windsor knotted neck-tie), Jon unselfconsciously picks up the cue and begins a most comfortable rapport, at once engaging and easy - made all the more exotic by his cut-glass English accent.
As if at an intimate cocktail party with new-found friends, Jon briefly explains his stage presence (to have a little "musical fun") while other cast members assemble behind the curtain - then effortlessly splashes pristine interpretations of "New York, New York" and - with a 'nod' to the Carolina Opry's country roots - Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" liberally sprinkling on more dazzling notes than either composers or previous performers have ever done. The confounding thing about him though, is that he doesn't seem to need to look at the glistening black Grand Piano as he spends most of his time smiling at the audience and apparently bursting with the sheer fun of performing!
Having prepped his audience to be ready with their own personal requests and dedications; Jon quickly whips off his glittering show-jacket (in preparation for the 'serious' task ahead) to reveal his true colors ... a full Stars-and-Stripes rhinestone vest ... to uproarious applause and laughs. "If only Tony Blair and George Bush's relationship were this much fun!" quips Jon flashing his rather handsome,
By this time unstoppable - the audience calls out for their favorites and, in a hard-to-believe display of phonographic recall, Jon delivers powerfully rhapsodic versions of each tune, usually in several different keys, showcasing his tasteful and comprehensive command of an outstandingly varied repertoire derived from an international resume packed with audience-pleasing. His latest albums “At Your Request” and "The Entertainer" have 55 of these top favorites.
Interrupted briefly by the sound engineer to request an auditorium microphone-check, Jon invites his friends (for by now, they certainly are - most post-show comments reveal folk would be happy to listen to him all night long!) to oblige with a quick sing-a-long which concludes with the audience congratulating themselves on what a great job they've done!
Taking this success up a notch; Jon wraps things up (or so it seems at the time) by preparing the audience to make his "Volaré" finale a joint-effort by adding their own vocal refrain. Despite maintaining a break-neck beguine-rock-funk-fusion pace during the song interspersing double-octave melodic mastery and articulated arpeggiation sufficient to render a traditional biological study of hand-and-finger bones defunct - the audience concludes by almost drowning out Jon with their own Dean Martin impression on each chorus.
Having just achieved the ultimate goal for an entertainer (the positively memorable transformation of an audience's mental state) - amid applause Jon is prompted to finally accept previously declined multiple requests for Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire" - a challenge which he accepts and executes with formidable panache, leaving the stage with a gratefully acknowledging wave and an audience
Briefly catching his breath while fellow cast-mates flesh out their own roles in the unfolding spectacular; Jon is re-introduced throughout this amazing show for two featured production numbers appropriately enough - currently highlighting the ever-popular English composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musicals "Phantom of The Opera" (Music of the Night) and "Cats" (Memory) often yielding spontaneous applause during most performances and standing ovations at their conclusion.