In 1998 I decided to start a solo project that would get me back in touch with why I started playing music in the first place. I began simply, by getting one 'chestnut' under my fingers, and then another, on and on. By focusing on my favorite tunes and pianists, and keeping one eye on the request list, I kept myself honest, not straying from my objective; to make a successful distinction between being merely a 'keyboard player', as my friends and peers knew me, but also an effective and convincing 'pianist' as well. Through careful listening, practice and persistence, I've noticed my own style emerging. Picking the tunes is the easy part. One needs to look no further than our great American songbook. The work of Ellington, Gershwin, Porter, Rogers and Hart, Bacharach, etc., has already passed the test of time, and still provides a viable vehicle for the musician to explore and the sensitive layman to appreciate and enjoy. Not to mention the fun I have digging into the wealth of piano styles invented by Morton, Tatum, Monk and Evans, to name a few. Over the past few years I have been very fortunate and grateful to be afforded the opportunity to perform in some of Nashville's finest restaurants and Jazz clubs. I enjoy playing real pianos, taking requests, building my repertoire and crooning one or two. Solo piano jazz can be, and has been, described as 'background music at best', but I don't intend to stop enjoying the obvious benefits of putting into practice what most of us take for granted. That is; our own American musical heritage. I revel in it. In a world where physical attributes and slick production seem to win out over talent and experience, I am forced to return to the inspiration from which my journey began. To make a statement, musically, through my voice, the piano, contributing, for the public muse, a valuable, positive energy, that emanates from love and respect, for the material, and the tradition with which it is best expressed. More simply put, to play jazz. It doesn't usually pay as much as the rock or country tours I've done, or will do, but at the end of the day, my throat isn't thrashed, my ears aren't ringing, and the food is usually better. I also enjoy taking the responsibility for both the credits and the criticisms. It's freedom. It's strength. It's life. It's the last piece of the puzzle. Or is it the first?
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