Category Archives: piano player for hire

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

6 Reasons Why Piano Music Makes One of The Best Fundraising Ideas Of All Time

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Piano Music Will Raise Funds. Really!

Live sing along piano music goes down in history as one of the all time great fundraising ideas and is a great choice for your next charity fund raiser event.

1. We are affordable with structured rates to fit every budget. We offer discounts for charity event entertainment packages that benefit children such as after school programs, athletic associations and most especially religious groups.

2. We can involve everyone in your audience because it spans every demographic; kids, tweeners, teens, millennials, young families, retirees on up to grandparents.

Even the people who don’t get to joining in with the sing along or the dancing will have a good time watching all their friends and co-workers get up and be all silly.

3. A VERY versatile live music entertainment choice. We can add a band or maybe hust a drummer, we can feature ‘guest’ singers from your group, we can create a karaoke event. Sound versatile to you too?

4. The piano player can take your requests. You get to set the pace of the show. If you don’t like the song one of these wonderful performers are playing, make a request and change the song. It’s fun when you’re in charge.

5. The very best reason you’re getting is live music entertainment played by a real musician in real time. Too many acts play with recorded music these days. And why not? The technology is there and it sounds so good. But because we’re actually playing piano and singing live for you, you get to hear us make mistakes and screw up the words and laugh at ourselves for doing it. Not bad huh,? 

Try us. You’ll see why live piano music makes one of the All Time Great Fundraising Ideas to come around since forever. 


oh wait … did I say 6 Reasons? Yes. I did. Reason #6 … IT’S FUN!!!

Car Trouble After A Live Music Gig

Right after I finished another live music gig:

It happened. I don’t like to admit that it happened to me.

But it did.

It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.

It’s just that it hasn’t happened in a long, long time.

Car Trouble. Yup. My truck didn’t start after the gig.

Thankfully it happened after the gig and not on the way to the gig.

I was finished. All done. All loaded and ready to go and boom. Then it happened.

Put the key in.

Turn the ignition.


Don’t you hate that?

It used to happen all the time. You know, like, 30 years ago. When I was a college student and I relied on $50 cars to get me through the winter.

Now it hasn’t happened in ooohhh I don’t know probably 15 years? Maybe longer.

I bought this truck because I needed reliable transportation for our gigs.

Playing live music is expensive.

You’ve got to keep the gear working in all kinds of weather here in Chicago. digital music equipment is fragile. You’ve got to have reliable transportation. And when the cold winds blow, you know the odds rise up against us.

So you stay on top of things. I replaced the battery before the beginning of this winter. I always carry a pair of jumper cables, just in case.

I’ve been trained by The Boy Scouts. Be prepared.

I have a blanket in the back of the truck. I don’t know if I have flairs but I think they’re back there by the spare tire as well. I replaced all 4 tires on her before last winter’s party season. Snow tires. That way I wouldn’t dependent on that spare tire or a tire jack that could get fussy. 

Good thing. Last year was a snowy one. We’re not as snowy this year. But we’re sure getting a lot of cold weather. What’dya expect? It’s winter. 

Here is a picture of our beloved cargo van on the back of the tow truck.

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Not A Sight One Likes To See

This ole girl has been great. We named this van Vicki. My girls called it ‘The Man Van’. The boys said it looked like it belonged on an episode of Law and Order: SVU. My accountant loves it because it has no windows so I guess that means it’s a solid write off.

I love her. Vicki. Yes I always name my vehicles after girls. We figured that one out when we were teenagers. They’re prettier that way. And we all know every girl, like every vehicle, has an inherent beauty to it that must be named.

So let’s see what’s up with Vicki. I’ll let you know. My mechanic is awesome. I can give you his name if you want it.

He’s always been great. Because he never charges that much. He is always fair on what he charges and because I have another big corporate event coming up this Thursday. He said Vicki will be back up and running again by then. Phew!

Maybe its something simple like a starter. Oh well . . . . . it happens. At least it happened after the gig.

Great Party Ideas That Create Lifelong Memories – The Cure for Presidents Day

So I have finally found one of the most perfect party ideas AND it will cure your next President’s Day.

Throw a party. Yes. That would be throw a party during Presidents Day and bring in a piano player and a award winning chef and see where that would lead.

I have many items on my bucket list. I frequently get new party ideas along with all my new song ideas and lyric ideas. But I don’t think I ever came up with throwing an afternoon party on Presidents Day. 

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No Need To Wait Until Next Year for Great Party Ideas

Well it happened for me yesterday. And what a success! Not a lot of people. Only about 10, maybe 12 folks. A few of their kids showed up. We ate great food, we sang some great songs, we sat down with friends and made great memories. You can too.

Plus, and here’s the good part, you don’t have to wait until next year’s Presidents Day. Start thinking about your outdoor BBQs and your graduation party ideas and your anniversary party ideas. We can make this another fantastic event filled and life long lasting memory creating event that will last a lifetime.

Call me to see what kind of ideas I can come up with for you and your memory tank.

How Do You Spell 60th Birthday Party Ideas?

Everyone Loves A Good Celebration — Birthday Party Ideas 

party ideas, surprise parties, piano entertainment, piano music,

Celebrate Now!

Celebrations are to be remembered. With all that can happen in the course of life, the good fortune to be able to come together with friends and family to commemorate a milestone like a birthday or an anniversary is to be relished with a party. But what can I say? I’m a professional entertainer. So there’s that. 

With that said when I get invited to come to your event as a piano player, I am humbled to know that first of all, you value good music, and second of all that you have allowed me to be a part of an intimate family memory that will last a lifetime.

That is exactly what happened last year in the summer when George and Colleen invited me to their home to celebrate George’s 60th birthday party. A little back story first …

George is happy to be celebrating anything above ground. Especially a 60th birthday party. George had had a major heart attack a year earlier. Like as in MAJOR. The weird part is George is one of those health nuts. Apparently he is quite active riding his bike and taking long tours for fun. He’s been doing this for years. In fact, George looks like one those guys who is healthy. Fit, tall, muscualar and full of life and energy.

If you were to put George in a line of 20 other men his age, you would pick him last as a candidate for “The Big Grabber”. But you would have picked wrong.

At the fateful moment he was blessed to be around his family and his wife, who is a registered nurse and knew how to administer CPR, thus keeping him alive long enough to get him on the table and get his operation that allowed him to live.

Now jump ahead a year later and everyone is happy to celebrate a surprise 60th birthday party for him.

So as part of his surprise party his wife, Colleen, and his kids, now grown, prepared this party under the radar. The misdirect (every surprise party needs a misdirect – where you get the celebrant out of the house long enough to get everything prepared) was to take him on a “short” bike ride down around Chicago to the lakefront and back. Nothing too strenuous.

We were all assembled in the backyard when he came around back towards the garage on his bike when we yelled “SURPRISE!!!” to which George was startled so severely that he fell off his bike.

It was then that we immediately realized maybe this whole “SURPRISE!!!” thing might not be good for his health lest we wanted to inflict another hear attack on the unsuspecting birthday boy. 



All was well though. Laughter and some memorable video footage will be enterted into the family archives for future laughs.

I was invited to be the piano player because George loves the Beatles and good music all around. Hence, the addendum at the end of the thank you note I received.

As you can see music reaches and heals all of us no matter where we are at. It helps during celebrations as well as times when Mother Nature rears her inevitable patterns.

So when considering party ideas, whether the good celebrations or the not so good, remember music will touch the soul of everyone who is there. It is an honor to not only play piano music for your birthday party ideas but also to be invited to your intimate family event. Thank you.

Dan – your performance not only touched & thrilled me,
it reached everyone’s soul who was there.
Love George”

How Do You Spell Mardi Gras Dueling Pianos?

Mardi Gras.
God’s gift to help us get through the winter.

Wait. That can’t be right.

Mardi Gras is a pagan Holiday. designed to help us sinners get it together before the miracle of Easter.

Oh … forget it … I’m just a mixed up Catholic who hasn’t been to church in a while. Either way you look at it … and I look at it as an Ambassador of Fun would look at it … An Emcee of Party … a professional piano entertainer would look at it … LET’S SING SOME SONGS!!!

Plus, we’re going to be raising some money for the Kankakee County Chamber … again! I think this is our 3rd or 4th year in a row providing charity event entertainment for them? I’ve lost count.

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Mardi Gras Dueling Pianos in Kankakee 2015

Dueling Pianos with a Mardi Gras twist, a tinge of The Big Easy, A taste of the Le Bon Temps Roulé. Can you resist it any longer? 

This winter is getting longer and longer and spring is still a few 6 weeks away. So let’s embrace the ice! Let’s dance in the darkness. Let’s do the night the way the night should be done .. with live music in the form of dueling piano mardi gras.

We’ll be there. Where will you be?

Knights of Columbus Hall, 187 South Indiana Avenue, Kankakee, IL 60901 — Doors open at 6 PM

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For tickets and to make a donation click here 

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Bring some friends … We know you got some!

Piano Player For Hire Finally Decodes Priceline

So I think I’m finally figuring out how to use to my advantage. Since I travel so much as a piano player for hire, I figured it’s worth making it work for me and our family budget.

But I’m wondering something …

Who the hell picks these paintings? 

Piano music, piano player, dueling pianos,

Hotel Art

Not that they’re bad or anything. I’m just kind of wondering cuz they are exceptionally non-descript.

There’s nothing about them that make you go, “Oh. That’s really cool. I think I should get some for my collection. Let me call my art broker and see if he can cut me a deal on a bulk purchase.”

And what the hell is with this smell?

These NON-SMOKING rooms smell all perfumey. And not that good kind of perfumey, like wow I need some of this funk in my house right now too. It’ll go great with those paintings I just bought.

I would rather have the old stale cigarette smoke from yesteryear.

No. Wait. I wouldn’t. That was REALLY disgusting.

But this new smell seems like it’s designed to be cat house friendly or something. I can hear the voice over on the radio spot: “It smells like a brothel, but bring the kids anyway. It’s safe and won’t deform their growth. Plus, it’ll create all kinds of fresh and special memories you can share for a lifetime.”

Oh well. The price was right. Here’s to shopping on the Internet.

Bye for now.

Doh! Late Night Piano Music Entertainment

Solo piano music entertainment … So I had another interesting perspective on things again last night … I was working a solo gig – late night piano music, the kind that was like starting after midnight and go until 4 AM. Sort of a semi-regular piano music gig for me. I’ve been working this particular club off and on for, like 20+ years or something. Great room. Decent folks.

The night started off kind of slow. There were storms forecast and heavy rains not only threatened, they arrived.

So I just started out the evening’s entertainment by playing some slow soulful grooves in the vein of some Sam Cooke and an obscure Marvin Gaye ballad or two, just feeling out the room, joining the vibe of the crowd.

Then I slowly started amping up, getting people to sing along. There were about 60 or 70 people in the club to begin. As is the case, I started engaging people, getting them to sing along, gather them over by the piano, taking requests. It was fun. Really got ’em going. Before long I had the whole house rockin’. People were singing at the top of their lungs, having a great time!

I thought, “Man. I’m really on my game tonight!”

The manager came up to me in the middle of all this and said something he never has had to to say to me before … “Dan, could you slow it down or maybe take a break?” I was okay with that cuz they weren’t really throwing bread in the jar.

What I didn’t realize was that there were, not one, but 2 bachelor parties that had come on into the club. Their vibe was a bit incoherent. Typical. Except a couple of guys were getting out of line and had to be asked to leave.

So after all that it wasn’t me. It was testosterone. Go figure …

Country Club Entertainment with Piano Music

Tonight for our dueling pianos show we’ve added a new little wrinkle. Before we play a 2 hour interactive live music and comedy show, we’re adding solo piano in the cocktail hour. It’s well worth it since there is an absolutely incredible spread of food being laid out.

These guys here have an exceptional array of menu items. Fish and veggies and all of my absolute favorites. So thanks for having us back at your country club again for the 5th year in a row. An absolute jo and always an honor.


Is Stevie Wonder the Best Piano Player?

I don’t know if Stevie Wonder is the best piano player or not …. That’s not for me to decide …. but …

I had a really awesome day today.

I didn’t know if it was all going to work out or not. But it did and on the way home with a big smile on my face from a very complicated tech rehearsal for a corporate event. I wasn’t sure what to do. I was not in control of things. I was supposed to be the leader. I hate when that happens. I got all worried about how I looked; to the client, to the other musicians.

What I did is what I was supposed to do. Let the people I had hired to do their jobs. The show was written. The songs were arranged. But the technical stuff was not my area of expertise. That’s why we hire really good people for these corporate event entertainment packages. Entertainment for events is a lot like riding a bicycle wearing a blindfold. You know where you’re going to go. You just don’t what might be in your way.

This is why we have tech rehearsals. To find out what’s in our way.

It all turned to be a sweet and successful rehearsal for a corporate seminar that is going to be massively successful. coming up later this week …

and on my way home after the rehearsal …

I heard this Stevie Wonder song very clearly in my head …

This was the tune Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing –Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder best piano player?

Stevie Wonder

Thanks for playing along. Feel free to dance around like nobody is watching. I won’t tell.