My career started when I was studying piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory-used to go downstairs and play the piano in the parlor in the evenings. Some of the students suggested I get a manager and play professionaly. One evening a man who was the booking agent for Doris Day,said he could book me in a piano bar in downtown Cincinnati-I would have to change my name from Helen Mudgett to a more 'show business' type, so I became Pat Moran (the name of a cellist at the school_I admired.) One thing led to another and I (unfortunately) quit school and started playing small bars. I wasn't very good at it-the owners mostly wanted you there to attract men-I had been listening to bebop, and spent most of my time teaching myself to play it, and therefore got fired quite frequently! Finally I hooked up with a girl singer from the Conservatory, Bev Kelly. We headed for Chicago, signed with a big a booking agency, added a bass player and drummer, started singing 4 way vocals, and began working on the South side at an all black club which also was a hotel. We lived in the hotel and played the club for 6 months. During that time we recorded several albums, including 'Porgy and Bess'- singing with Mel Torme (with Duke Ellingon's band), and a cast of other great singers and musicians. The quartet played all the hottest jazz spots in America, including Birdland (NYC), and the Blue Note in Chicago before the agency decided I should just have a trio. I met bassist Scotty LaFaro at a jazz club in St. Louis who was playing with Chet Baker. It was their last night, and we were opening the next. I remeber that night after closing, we were all standing around talking, and some girl asked Chet to sing to her- he started singing 'Look for the Silver lining'-it was pretty funny. Chet was missing a front tooth-but he was still a good looking guy! Scotty and I became great friends. I've been thinking about my life as a young jazz musician. I guess the highlight of my career was when I played at the Hickory House in New York City. We were taped live from the club twice a week on NPR. It was pretty amazing to be playing to an audience consisting of many jazz 'greats' like like Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Errol Garner, Cannonball Adderly (he always called me 'Miss Moran'}--anyone who was anybody was playing in the city at the time dropped into the Hickory House for dinner and some jazz. Since 'retiring' from the road, I've written and recorded a childrens album 'Shakin Loose with Mother Goose' with Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows (which won the National Book award), recorded several cds, been on National Public radio with Marian McPartland, appeared on 'Crystal Cathedral', and played at several large black churches, including Andrae Crouchs' in Los Angeles. -Patti McCoy is a professional pianist who has traveled and played in big venues like, Birdland (NYC), Hickory House, ant the Blue Note in Chicago. Her love for music has inspired many to pick up their instruments and go for it!
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