Category Archives: piano music Chicago

PIano Music Maker Satisfies The Masses

As a piano music maker in the piano bars around Chicago  

I get the opportunity to meet and greet some of the finest of citizens.

It is my pleasure to introduce to one such group of fine patrons from the late night gig last week. Just a warning Poison Squirrels, I mean, Boys and Girls, alcohol was involved in this particular encounter.  

This is just one cute little tale I’d love to pull on your coat tails about, Gather ’round kids . . .


I took a break and walked around the room to talk with people at the club and see what they wanted to hear for the next set.

One highly energetic and slightly giddy trio of young women had a request of sorts.

The first one said, “Let’s find you some good songs to play. Do you play any Shania Twain?”

No. I haven’t played any of her songs in years.”

The next wanted to know, “Do you do any Taylor Swift?”

Do I look like I know any Taylor Swift?”

So the next one says, “How about some N’Sync?”

I said, “I thought you wanted to hear something good.”

piano music, live music, comedy,

To All My Friends

They finally laughed. In fact, it was as if someone flipped a switch because then the first one said, “Well I just thought you could spice things up. What Lionel Richie do you know that will really rock the house?”

I smiled and told them, “Ummmmm … how ’bout none?” They got the joke.

I quickly changed the subject by getting someone to take our picture. I love my job!


The best part is I get to play to all kinds of people. When folks have an idea about what they think is going to be a good song, I can usually play it. But as a professional, I know which songs are going to work. Stress the word ‘KNOW’. I’ve been doing this awhile now. I’ve got a repertoire that expands decades. Anything you want to hear will fit. However, as a profession piano music maker, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Lionel Richie will never get the room rocking. Sorry my dear.  Thanks for playing along though. We sure appricate the thoughts and condolences.


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?



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St Thomas … I think?

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?” 

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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!


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:

More On Chicago Mayoral Election Results 2015

Hi There and Welcome to Another Installment The Piano Bench Blog Cast:
Chicago Mayoral Election Results  

Today’s broadcast comes in the form of some more great piano music and comedy. Our topic? Chicago mayoral election results. I certainly hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed writing and recording.

Chicago politics has no shortage of great comedy material. So tune in regularly.
And be sure to contact me, Dan, for your custom written music and comedy for your client appreciation night, your corporate event or hospital visit.

The Power of Live Music Entertainment Will Astound You!

The Power of Live Music Entertainment
will literally astound you!

Edison said …

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves.”

The power of music is astounding! I get to see it every night I am playing piano music live in a corporate event or at a club date. I can see it whether I am entertaining in a country club or at a fund raiser.

Yes I can play piano and yes I can sing. But the music isn’t mine. It belongs to all of us and my job is to provide the vehicle for you to climb in and take a ride;

A Magic Carpet Ride.

Ride Sally Ride.

Baby You Can Drive My Car.

The tricky part is letting you know you need it before you know you want it.

So I am here to tell you want it. You need it. You crave live music entertainment and you’re going to be talking about what an astounding time you had last night tomorrow morning and for the rest of your life.

You will remember your event for years to come and maybe even beyond. It won’t because of the bean dip. It won’t be that really funny story Uncle Funky tells every party ever year every time you get guys get together.

It’s going to be the live music you shared. It’s going to be the dancing and the singing and the great memories you’ve created together with me behind the piano or with my band.

I’m not making this up. The music is telling you this is true.
You know how I know?
Let me ask you a question:

Do you remember where you were when you got your first kiss?

Of course you do.

Now what was your favorite song from that time period?

See? You knew instantly.

That’s the power of music.

That song (or songs) that was playing on the radio or on the 8 track player in the car you were in at the time, ingrained your emotional happiness. It became the soundtrack to your life.

That’s the power of music.

It transcends everything that was going on at the time. You don’t remember what you ate for breakfast the morning of your first kiss. But you remember the song that was your favorite.

So call me and let’s create some more great memories with live music entertainment.

I am Dan and I am the PianoMan and I would be honored if you would let me create those moments with you and your friends and family that will last a lifetime.

Live Music Entertainment is Astounding!

Call 773-527-7417

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Piano Music Will Raise Funds. Really!

live music entertainment for events piano player for hire

Live Music Creates Astounding Memories!

Warm Weather Means Chicago Dueling Pianos At Navy Pier

Chicago Dueling Pianos at Navy Pier must mean …
The warm weather is here?

It’s the first warm day of spring here in Chicago. I think we may be close to 70º. I took my walk outdoors today instead of on the treadmill like I usually do. I saw the robins out in earnest. The smell of BBQ was prevalent throughout the entire neighborhood. A sure sign that Chicagoans are ready for the warm weather to appear and the snow blowers and salt to disappear.

Dueling pianos, entertainment for events,

Chicago Dueling Pianos Show

We are down at Navy Pier tonight for a dueling pianos show at a corporate event. Entertaining in front of several thousand people. We’ve got the traditional dueling pianos fun; sing along, dance along, laugh along live music entertainment. Yet tonight we have added a new wrinkle. We’ve added a drummer to the festivities.

That’s one of the reasons why Chicago Dueling Pianos are one of the most versatile party ideas. 

We can take your requests so that you get to decide which music you want to hear. But we can add a full band, or just a drummer like we’re doing tonight. We can add a featured vocalist. It just gives the extra added dimension to our regular piano music entertainment for events. chicago dueling pianos 

So after we do load in and sound check, I think I’m going to go for an additional walk down around Navy Pier and enjoy this beautiful weather. You never know how long it is going to last. Because you know what they say, If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait 5 minutes. It’ll change.

Call us for your live music entertainment at your next corporate event, charity events or backyard BBQ. We love BBQ! HeckFire … we’ll c’mon by before it hits 80º. We’re not picky. Live music and comedy goes with every kind of weather. So does Chicago Dueling Pianos for that matter … 

What can we say? We’re Chicagoans! Give us a call. 773-527-7414

We can GUARANTEE … You Will Look Good B’cuz We Sound Good!

Alcohol with Your Piano Music Entertainment? Aghast!

Alcohol was invented so the Irish would not rule the world.” – Irish Proverb

When I’m out playing piano music in public, many folks ask me questions that are quite similar. They range in similarities like, “What do you do during the day for work?” and “What does your wife think of what you do for a living?”; things like that. I would love to write an entire blog post about each of those questions.

But in honor of the great St. Patrick’s Day coming up this week, I would like dedicate this holiday blog post to the patron saint of Ireland with a post about alcohol.

Alcohol is the great social lubricant.” – Also Irish Proverb

A couple of questions I get asked all the time would be:

  1. Where are you playing that we can go see you?” I don’t play out in bars all that often. But when I do, I like Dos Equis …. oooppppss Sorry. I do play out public sometimes when the schedule opens up. But for the most part I like to concentrate on company events and corporate gigs. They’re not as easy to perform at as a bar gig. They require a little more finesse and a whole lot more restraint. Certainly neither of my two favorite things to do in the whole world; restraint and finesse that is.I like the raucousness of a bar gig or restaurant. People cutting loose, cracking jokes, laughing at things that are not normally funny in polite company. But isn’t that the point of going out drinking with your friends? No need to be polite.At company events and corporate functions where we are providing live music entertainment, people tend to hold back a bit because they have a level of decorum they need to uphold in the course of daily commerce. No sweat. People want to keep their jobs.

    For when the wine is in, the wit is out.” – Thomas Beacon

    But that brings us to the next question I get a lot:

  2. Do you think that we need to serve alcohol at our event to be able to get people to sing louder?The answer is a resounding, “No!”“How so?” you ask.I answer thusly.Have you ever heard a room full of kids sing loudly?Of course you have.

    Well they can certainly get pretty loud. And I don’t think ALL of them have been drinking. Do you?

    You answered “No. Probably not ALL of them Dan.”

    So I repeat myself. No. You do not need to serve alcohol at your company event to be able to get people to sing along loudly.

    Does it help?

    Hell yeah!

    It also helps if you’ve got the winning lottery ticket in your pocket. But it’s not going to solve all your problems.

    You will need to hire a professional entertainer (like me, for instance) who knows the tried and true formula for a successful evening of piano music entertainment. Someone who knows how to get people interacting knowing that they won’t be embarrassed come Monday morning around the water cooler, or feel like they’re the only on who knows how to have fun after hours. No.

    If you are not going to serve alcohol at your event, then might I make my professional recommendation that before you start your party, make sure the sun has gone down and that you just gave them all raises.

    But No, you do not need alcohol to be served in order to have a good time with live music entertainment for events at your company party.

Thanks for playing along and I’m certainly glad you’ve decided to read this far. Maybe you would indeed like to go a bit further. Give me a call at 1 773 527 7417 to see how affordable live piano music can be at your event.

Happy St Patty’s Day one and all! 

The whole world is about three drinks behind.” – Humphrey Bogart

piano music entertainment and green beer celebrations

Happy St Patty’s Day

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.

A Wide Awake Nightmare for One of Chicago’s Best Piano Players

Chicago is filled with the best piano players.

Everyone of us are filled with awe for anyone who is talented. With us piano players, it is more than a mutual admiration society. We all know each other and we all look out for each other. So it is with a mixture of shock and horror mixed with a sense of duty that I need to post this to my site.

My good friend and fellow comedian Dave Allen recently had brain surgery to remove a lesion that has left him with limited use of his right hand and has seriously hampered his speech.

Many of you who also know Dave, know what a tremendously talented man he is. His ability to deliver spot on impersonations in a wide variety of settings is second to no one that I’ve ever worked with. And you know I’ve worked with a lot of very talented people.

Dave has established himself as one of the best piano players in Chicago for years now. He has been working professionally as a piano player in the area since his teens and he has probably forgotten more tunes than I have ever known.

I sat across from him on one particularly slow night in a bar on a dueling pianos gig and watched him fire off the entire White Album from the Beatles.

I don’t know with any certainty what you were doing with your teen aged years. But I now know for sure what Dave Allen was doing with his.

One winter we took a long drive out to some corporate gig out in Iowa. All the way out there Dave was speaking in a new accent he was working on. His boys were totally into some new movie at the time. If I’m not mistaken, (and I’ve known to be from time to time) it was the first version of ‘Cars’ and Dave was working on some slow tawkin’ redneck voice. Every conversation was peppered with a response in that lawng particular drawl. 5 hour trip. There’s Dave munchin’ on pistachio seeds and spittin’ out colloquialisms.

On the way back – all 5 hours – he was working on an Indian voice. Some middle eastern guy who owned a quickie mart or something. I don’t even know what he was talking about but it made a long road trip with no radio in the truck disappear like the best dessert you’ve ever tasted. 

best piano players

Dave Allen one of Chicago’s Best Piano Players

best piano players

Dave Allen and Jake

He is a loving husband and father to his two boys. When you see them together you know he connects with them the way he does with an audience; deeply and with sincerity.

So please contribute to Dave. He may be out of work for a long time. But with your love and prayers (and knowing Dave) he’ll be back before we know it.

So if you can’t send money, even just $100, then send positive vibes.
He’s a really good guy and the entertainment world needs him back.

We all do. Thanks