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