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.
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.