Category Archives: best piano players

Chicago: Event Planners Dream Location

Hi All …. Event Planners give Thanks to Tim O’Malley and Concierge Preferred for this excellent video. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Chicago has it all when it comes to destination management … venues, food, entertainment, music, arts, sights to see, things to do and … people to be!

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment. Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment
Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

It was one of those gigs where I was so happy I took piano lessons as a kid, I had stuck with it as and adult and, most importantly, remained a professional so that I could witness what I am about to tell you.

No one thinks they really need live music. Most importantly the ‘Bean Counters’ who sit around in their office and don’t realize that music truly is the universal language that we all understand.

That’s okay. We all have a job to do.

My job today is to let you know how important
live music and comedy can be for your soul.

It’s like Gatorade after a 60 minute workout. It’s like scratching an itch in a hard to reach place. It’s like a hug and a kiss from a loved one who has returned from a long trip.
Here’s the story …

piano music entertainment

Sing Like No One Can Hear You

This guy was your typical office worker who didn’t have anything else going on his life except to be an office worker. He was kinda grumpy. He had no sense of humor. He had no friends. So he was the guy that made everyone feel a little uncomfortable.

He wore the weird shirt that didn’t appear to coordinate with his tie – or anything else that he wore for that matter. And his hair was always a little bit messy. He didn’t talk much because, well, he liked to be quiet.

Let’s call him ‘Ralph’.

What nobody knew about ‘Ralph’ was he had watched his Mom die of cancer when he was 10 back in 1969. As you can imagine it was horrible.

She was a single Mom. He was an only child. They were not members of a church so there was no support network of any kind. After she died he went to live with an aunt he had never met, in a state he had never been to, with an ‘uncle’ who wasn’t married to his aunt. They had no other kids either. His aunt was nice enough and all. But let’s just say ‘nurturing’ was not a concept she knew much about.

School was also a little rough for Ralph in this small rural town of about 4000 people. They were nice and everything. But having come from a large city school, he felt lost and way behind the other kids.

He wasn’t very coordinated or even remotely interested in sports. He just didn’t get the importance of all that running around and throwing balls and stuff. No one had ever showed him how and he didn’t have any allegiance to one team or another. So, seriously. Like, what’s the point?

The thing about his new school tho, was they had a choir as part of their curriculum. He had no idea how it would change his life.

Choir allowed Ralph to be around other people – especially girls. It allowed him to comfortably shift into his changing voice as puberty set in. It allowed him to express his emotions which ran so deep and so pensive at such a vulnerable and tenuous time of his life.

He stayed with choir all through middle school and high school. He didn’t excel at singing. He was never a featured soloist or anything. He just really enjoyed it for reasons that a growing young man could simply not explain.

But that’s where it ended. College was not in the picture for Ralph. He went to work and learned finance. He was actually pretty good at analysis. He eventually learned accounting with a small local firm that had hired him right out of high school.

In 89 that small local firm was bought out by a much larger one which then grew into a multi-billion dollar corporation through the 90s. He was a good and consistent employee. He was promoted regularly but never to management. He got transferred back to his hometown city in 98 where he just slipped easily into the anonymity of the hustle and bustle. He lives there to this day.

He never married. He never joined a church or a community choir. He doesn’t do much of anything in the way of outside activities. He likes going to the movies. But he feels too shy to search for anything. No one ever gave him permission.

Until one night in February his company event consisted of a large Holiday Party featuring piano music entertainment.

‘Ralph’ was sitting alone, kind of in the background. I don’t think he was eating much off the buffet. I didn’t notice his beverage of choice. But I did notice he was alone.

When I perform I never call anyone out. I never embarrass anyone. What I use is a technique I call “A Saucer of Milk”. It’s like when you want to call a cat over. You don’t yell or command. You just lay out a saucer of milk. If you want what we have to offer, (and your soul knows you do), then you’ll be over in time.

This story is getting a little long. So I am going to finish this tomorrow.

In the meantime, thanks for listening and let me know when you want to have great live music and comedy in the form of piano music entertainment and interactive, sing along fun that brings people together and creates life long memories for everyone in attendance.

Great Piano Player Chuck Leavell Honored

I just wanted to pop this up here and say congratulations to one of my favorite piano players Chuck Leavell.

He has been holding the chair in The Rolling Stones for going on 35 years now. I first got hip to him when he played piano on the first Allman Brothers record after Duane died. Chuck’s piano solos, particularly the one on ‘Jessica’ remains and always will be a true classic.

Congratulations to Chuck Leavell on your induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/02/chuck_leavell.html

Chuck Leavell: Pianist Extraordinaire

Life As A Cruise Ship Piano Entertainer

The kids on the cruise ship are hilarious. They are very antsy and energetic. Like, constantly. But mostly right after a meal. They can’t understand how grown ups just want sit back and talk and relax after a good bite. Kids got to get up and run around. They got to do things.

This is especially so when the child has been fed a very steady diet of soft serve ice cream. It can’t be beat. They don’t want anything but french fries and ice cream. Who can blame them? If I didn’t have repercussions from eating like that I would do it all the time. It’s hypnotizing to think about. Donuts and ice cream. No veggies. No rice cakes. Just ice cream. Mmmmmmmm … mesmerizing.

I saw one little tyke this AM who didn’t look any older than 2 years old. I don’t even think he had been walking for more than a month or two. He was holding his Mom’s hand as they were walking along the pool deck to go to the buffet.

It was as if he could smell the ice cream 50 meters away because once he realized where they were going, he just looked up at his Mom as if to say, “Can’t you move any faster Lady?” I mean he was pulling on her limb as if he wasn’t going to stand for the delay in the proceedings and if she didn’t get with the program, he was going to have to release of her of her duties so he could get on over to the ice cream! “Let’s get on with it!” 2 years old.

His poor mother knew exactly what was going on and was not going to release him until he got something nutritious in him first. But she looked utterly defeated. She knew she should not have brought this kid with them on this trip. She thought she was going to catch up on her sleep. She thought she was going to relax. But Nooooo. This 2 year old needed ice cream and immediately after he was going to run around. Probably where danger existed in the form of swimming pools and slippery floors.

I can’t say I miss those days. I’m only working on this cruise ship as an entertainer because our kids are grown up and out of high school now. This is my time to sit back and watch all those parents deal with saying no to ice cream.

Life For A Cruise Ship Entertainer

No one is really out on the ship today. It has been windy and cloudy all day. Last night the ship was really pitching. I don’t know if the stabilizers were on or not. But there was a lot of swaying going on as passengers walked to and fro. Even sleeping had its challenges. I was worried I might fall out of the bed.

I have nothing to compare it to except for that Category 5 Hurricane that came along last September. Then we had what were reported as 40 foot waves. But its hard to tell when you’re 7 stories up. So I needed to go down to the 2nd deck where the crew mess hall was located. This storm appears to have 20 foot waves? Still cant really tell.

No need to. The ship is quiet. People are laying low. The decks are empty.

It’s so ‘cold’ today that you can tell who the Floridians are on the ship. They’re dressed like Chicagoans would dress in the Autumn. Chicagoans are dressed in sandals and shorts.

Holiday Party Ideas New Years Entertainment

Holiday Party Ideas? Think about this …

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, holiday party ideas 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, holiday party ideas, 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.

What’s Your Favorite Song?

The question I get asked second most is, favorite song 
“What kind of music do you like to play the best?” 

favorite song, piano music, good music,

Two Kinds of Music

I always like to quote Duke Ellington who said, “There are only two kinds of music. Good and the other kind.”

I only play one kind. Which is good.

But what is good? How do you know it’s good? It’s so hard to tell these days. Let’s go back to the Grand Master Duke who went on to say,

If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!”

So it starts if I can make it sound good. Brown Eyed Girl can have a great groove. You can play it reggae style. You can play it bluesy. You can even go Calypso on it and fill the dance floor in nothing flat. favorite song 

So, basically, if my audience is having a good time, it’s probably cuz it feels good to them.

I can play Sweet Caroline 4 times a night because if I place it in the right portion of the night, people love that song. They’re having a great time with it. So I’m having fun too.

I got asked that question the other night again, “What is your favorite song to play?”

I was in a club. It wasn’t all that busy. Kind of a quiet night. Maybe 50 people in the bar. The usual mix of foreigners and American tourists. A few Canadians but mostly Brits. A relaxing, warm spring evening in Chicago.

I love meeting new people. Especially people from other places than my neighborhood or my city. It’s good to have another perspective.

I remember one time I was playing on a boat that was spinning around Lake Michigan. I was a young man; about 20 something. I struck up a conversation with a woman from Israel who was living in Germany. I was complaining about our government and all the problems. She just looked at me and in no uncertain terms expressed, “You have no idea how good you have it here in America.”

There are always more than one way to look at things. I forget that sometimes unless I am talking with a wide and varied group of people on a regular basis.

Last night at a party I met a woman who was probably in her late 60s who is deeply involved in the justice system. Her point of view is massively different than my friends who are police.

That’s why when people ask me what kind of music I like the best, I have to answer with a question; “What kind of music do you like? What is your favorite song?” Because as an entertainer I’m not really allowed to judge. I want you to have a good time. I want you to hear the music that makes you feel good. If you’re feeling good, then I’m feeling good. Pretty simple really.

But as a musician (not as an entertainer) I have a very different point of view. First and foremost, it has to have a groove. I also like music that tells a story. I like music that has interesting harmonic structures; something I can spread my wings on and investigate tonalities and textures within the course of the tune. I like to discover something new in every song. Especially if I’ve been playing it for many months – or years.

It’s pretty simple. It comes down to the same thing for me too. Does it make me feel good? Cuz if I’m feeling good, you are too.

Let’s feel good together with live music and piano songs that create more great memories that will lat a lifetime for you.

Call me at +1 773-527-7417 and I GUARANTEE we will have some fun!

 

Why Pop Music Doesn’t Suck So Bad

I played a pop music gig at a very successful nationwide restaurant chain this last week. It was my first time there. They have music there 7 nights a week. I had resisted taking a gig there. “Why?” you ask? I’ll tell you why. I am so used to being the headliner, if you will, that I wasn’t too keen on taking a gig where I needed to back a female singer. Especially because I know so many of the other piano players who were there and who told me it was a bit of a pressure cooker.

There were set lists and charts and arrangements to follow and I’m more of an improviser. I like interacting with the audience. I don’t like being wall paper per se. I don’t mind being in the background. I prefer comedy and interaction with the audience.

But as things happen, I had the night open and they were in desperate need of a fill in.

So I said “Yes”.

I’m glad I did.

The top manager was completely cool. Very relaxed. So because everything begins at the top, the rest of the managers were chill as well. Not bad for a Saturday before Mother’s Day.

The singer was excellent! Professional and gracious. Very talented and beautiful on the inside and the out. The drummer was a friend of mine who I had not seen in over 15 years. Top flight cat who really takes pop music seriously.

What I mean by that is this: All of pop music tends to be similar. Similar chord changes. Similar melodies. Similar subject matters. You know what I’m talking about. All the same across the board.

The only thing that is different from song to song is the arrangement. My friend Jeff takes those arrangements seriously. He treats them as though they are symphonic scores. He can do that since he has worked with all the top symphonies in the land. He has worked the pit orchestras of the major theater productions here in Chicago. He knows the importance of an arrangement in pop music.

So tune in next time to hear more about this gig that is coming up for me again in the near future. Great restaurant. Great live music entertainment in the great city of Chicago.

Until then … For God’s Sake … Please be nice to somebody, will ya?

Did You Hear What Stephen Hawking Said About One Direction?

It’s nearly impossible to believe this guy Stephen Hawking could be any smarter. Seriously!

It was amazing how astute our biggest brain in this universe came up with this. Was he thinking about it before he spoke? Or did he come up with the answer before he was even asked.

Stephen Hawking, arguably the biggest brain in our known galaxy, was asked a question about fav rave boy band One Direction and the new direction their lead singer was taking. IOW,

What are the cosmological effects of Zayn Malik leaving boy band One Direction?

See what he said here:

 

http://glogleemusic.tumblr.com/post/118122779623/stephen-hawking-was-recently-asked-about-one

Summer Vacations with Live Music?

I need to find some more great places to travel to this summer.

If I can get a gig playing live music on my piano — all the better.

D’ya think this spot would do?

live music, entertainment for events, comedy music,

Glacier National Park Montana

Summer vacations with live music? Any resort or destination spot will do great with live music on the piano from Dan Gillogly

Give me a call at 773-527-7417 I’m Dan the Pianoman