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New Years Entertainment

This year’s holiday party season has come to a close. It was a very interesting and varied schedule of private parties and company events.

I didn’t have many offers for NYE gigs this year. I had some bar gigs offered. I had a couple of restaurant gigs. But since Amber’s birthday is on New Year’s Day, I like to take something new and memorable. Not that I have anything against restaurant gigs. I’ve just played my share of them so much over the years, that I know they are kind of quiet and low key. Most people who go out to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve are there to celebrate early and be home by 1030.

Those that do go out to a bar are looking for a raucous time. It’s a rare night out for those folks who don’t usually go out all that often. Those of us in the business call New Year’s Eve ‘Amateur Night’ for all the reasons you can guess.

But this year I was rewarded for holding out for an interesting gig. I got a call for a private house party through an agent friend of mine. It was going to require a bit of travel. But the weather has been so mild this year that I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to the eastern part of the USA.

Our hostess had bought her childhood home in Malone, NY – a small town in upstate New York – about 30 miles from the Canadian border. The shortest distance to her home town was through the lovely country of Canada. We left in enough time to avoid a storm which smacked everyone pretty good with some sleet. But we were counting on the Canadians’ extensive experience in snow removal techniques to remain safe and unscathed. We were correct.

Not only were the roads clear and dry, there were fewer pot holes in the entire province of Ontario than there were down my entire Chicago street where I live.

piano music canada, We were able to stop in Toronto for the night and heard some stellar jazz cats ringing it at an open session. Even tho I am an alum of The Second City, I have never been up to our sister city of Toronto. Very international feel to it all. And people seemed very chill, relaxed and easy going.

I wondered why that is …

Do you suppose it’s because there is less of a chance of getting shot or mugged? Or do you suppose it’s because Canadians don’t fear losing their homes and their life savings if they get sick or injured?

piano music montreal On the return trip we made it a point to visit Old Montreal. Well worth the effort if you’ve never been. It was an easy trip from Malone, NY. Kind of like a trip to Milwaukee for most Chicagoans. Except there was less cheese and more class.

There’s way more to this story of this year’s new Year’s Eve party celebration. So tune in again later to hear more.

Exquisite Piano Music at A Corporate Event was a Shared Experience

I met some wonderful people today. I was on a corporate gig. It was daytime. The sun was still up. These people all had gainful employment at this corporation. It was a fascinating day.

Holiday FairThere was a band and a high school choir and me playing piano music in between. An eclectic blend of styles and sounds.

The band is a resident church band. JDB Ensemble. I will need to give them a call to see where they are at these days. Soulful. Spiritual. Exquisite. Live music with a 4 piece band and 2 singers. Looking great and sounding great.

I also shared the stage with North Chicago H.S. Choir. They were teen agers and they sang a capella. (which is a musical term which means “with no computers’) What got me about them was their choir director. A young woman with superior energy. She was their leader and it showed. They reflected her source. Smiling. Swinging. Sweet.

As I watched from the wings, I thought of the importance of music in our lives. How did this church band get started? One of the musicians and I were talking backstage before the gig. He said something to the effect of “The only time cerebral should enter into the equation is when we’re learning the music. Not when we’re playing or performing it.”

So true!

The youngsters were certainly having fun. It was not only a day out of school. But they were getting a chance to just be kids and to sing. Kudos to their teacher and their administrators for keeping music alive in their lives.

They may not grow up to be professional musicians. They may not grow up to be big stars. They may not ever sing another note for the rest of their long and healthy lives. (Highly unlikely) But they have a chance to learn music and to perform in public. And no one can ever take that away from them. Ever.

Nor will the employees who were in attendance at this Holiday corporate event ever be able to undo this experience. Live music with real musicians. Real music sung by a choir. Real experiences from the other side through the universal language that we all crave and desire.

Live Band Dueling Pianos

So we played a dueling pianos show last night at Bar Louie’s up in Mil-Town (a.k.a. Milwaukee), Chicago’s largest suburb in Wisconsin and I must say that, once again, we had a great time. Go figure. People in Wisconsin are always way too easy to get along with.

I was with the great Ted Oliver across from me. And he had invited some local musicians he’s been jamming with from a band called C.I.A. Which is short for Caught In The Act I think.

Anyway, they were realllllyy good. Stan and Mark were on sax and trumpet while Tom came up and shredded his vocal chords on some Chicago and Journey and various and sundry hits. They’re wives and friends were there and I must say, it might go down as one of the highlights of my year.

There are always one or twon gigs which stand out as highlights of the year for me. This one would go in the Top 5 for me for 2015, that’s for sure. These guys were exceptional. They’re energy was infectious for me and Ted and for everyone in attendance. I played and sang differently because they were there.

You see, there is something about live music that is completely disarming for most people. When we play dueling pianos we can get people dancing and singing along. But when we added those horns, people were downright defenseless against the power of live music.

I would like to think it is us. I know we’re the ones behind the instruments. We’re the ones on the mics cracking jokes and imploring folks to sing along.

But it is the power of the music that makes it work. It is the universal language of music that is coming into your soul and creating joy and beauty and memories that will last your entire lifetime. Maybe beyond.

Will these musicians remember on their death bed the long days working that senseless day job? Or will they remember with fondness and a great sense of fulfillment the nights of playing music in front of people who truly enjoyed it too?

Let us create memories for you at your next get together. It would be an honor. Especially if you’re in Mil-Town or the surrounding ‘burbs.

All American Dueling Pianos. Creating Lifelong Memories One Song At A Time. 773-527-7417

Holiday Party Entertainment

Howdy All!

piano music, resort entertainment,

Ahhh the life … !!!

Just getting back in from a whole bunch of road work. Settling back into Chicago for the long winter months. I love travelling and meeting all kinds of new people.

I was down in the eastern Caribbean for a month+ doing a dueling pianos show with some exceptional entertainers. Never met any of them before. What a great way to travel!

And can you believe how blue these waters are? I’ve never been down there before this trip. I definitely plan on getting back. In fact, I’ve heard from my agents that we’ll be back down there in January. Good timing, huh?

 

 

Caribbean piano entertainer, piano music,

St Thomas … I think?

Yes and …. CFD Saves Historic Second City Theater !

The Second City theater was creatively saved by CFD yesterday. Amazing! I don’t how I would have felt if they brave firefighters of Chicago had not been able keep the water out of our historic theater.

But they did it! Kudos to the Chicago Fire Department. Many thanks. CFD Saves The Day!

So many memories for me inside those walls. The offices were largely destroyed. But both theaters were saved! Those offices used to be apartments where we would “hang out” at after the bars closed. A major part of my history as well as the entire Old Town neighborhood.

The Creative Process and How It Works

This is a great chart of how prolific creative people spent their time on a daily basis.
Want to develop a better work routine? Discover how some of the world’s greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

 

There are many, many ways to reach through the process. I try to find balance in my daily schedule, a balance between business and creativity, eating well, exercising and finding time to relax and meditate. Its not always easy with a freelancers schedule.

that’s why this chart on the creative process and how others’ have done their best with the 24 hours we have available to each and every one of us was so good for me to see. I hope ou find it valuable too.

If You Ever Drove A Lamborghini Would You Tell Anybody?

I was pulling up to the restaurant gig today and I went to park with the valet. They were very busy because it was the dinner hour. I pulled up in my minivan to own unload my gear. I told the guy I was the piano player for the night and he quickly said, “Okay. Fine.” Then he ran to the car behind me.I was kind of insulted at first. I figured he was thinking, “Oh great! Here’s another musician. I don’t have to pay attention to him.”But I wasn’t insulted when I looked in my rearview mirror to see the car that he ran to.  It was a jet black Lamborghini. The valet was grinning ear to ear.
lamborghini, luxury cars, piano music, live music,

Nice Ride!

I don’t often have car lust. I have lusted after the BMW 700 series. Especially if it still comes with the hydrogen fuel-cell. That would be a cool car to drive. I’ve never driven one. But I definitely plan on driving one sometime in my life.

I have driven the Corvette. Now that’s a nice machine. I would definitely look into getting a Corvette. But most of the other high-end luxury cars don’t really interest me all that much. I’m sure they’re nice. I’m sure they’d be wonderful to drive and to own. But I don’t give them all that much thought.

But as I looked at this Lamborghini I thought,
“Now that’s a car I should definitely look into someday.”

I looked at the valet with a smile on his face as he drove off in the Lamborghini and I wondered “I’ll bet he has a short list of really nice cars he would like to own someday.” I’m sure he does and I’m sure that if he did not have a Lamborghini on his list he does now.

The valet has probably driven more luxury cars than I’ve even thought of in my life.

One more thing — if had ever worked as a valet and I had a chance to park a Lamborghini, I would definitely tell my friends. “Yeah, I’ve driven a Lamborghini.”  Even if I only just parked one.

Should A Bar Counter Sue A Cover Band for the Music They Play?

I wanted to share this video because this marks a disturbing trend. Watch this first then read and join the discussion below. Disturbing for everyone who loves live music and especially for this of us who play live music.

FOX 13 News

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/clip/11523232/bar-owner-sued-over-music

If the bar owner is claiming he has no control over what the band plays, and his argument wins in court, then that makes the cover band liable for the fines to be paid to BMI.

So that would now keep the bar owner in business but it would put the band out of business.

Which means, kind folks, since most bands are only hobbyists who do not make their full time income from playing music, (People like me seem to be in the minority these days) there will now be even fewer qualified bands to perform live music.

If this trend persists, the restriction of which music a band can or can not play based on a license with the performing rights agency, live music will cease to exist.

I would like people who know more about this subject than i do to chime in here and let me know if this is what is going to happen.

Will Live Music cease to exist on a grass roots level? Will bar bands stop performing due to high licensing fees? What does an amateur band or a bunch of kids in high school do to get compliance?

4th of July Thank You To All

4th of July thoughts:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

John Adams

On this 4th of July 2015 I am truly living the American Dream. I would like to thank you.
I get to play music for a living. That s because of the sacrifices people made before me. My Grandfather (not that I knew him or anything) apparently came here from Ireland and worked as a laborer. My Dad went to school on the GI Bill and started and ran a very successful law firm Chicago for decades. I have been able to raise a family playing music and writing and producing CDs and theater projects with an endless list of quality artists.

Happy Birthday America!

I owe you so much I can not express the depth of my gratitude. So I will attempt to give something back 1 song, 1 lyric, 1 show at a time. And I will hope that it begins to fulfill my obligation that this is truly the greatest republic in the history of man kind.
God Bless America and God Bless You. 
Now let’s hear Ray Charles’s gratitude.