Our yard is now connected with my brother-in-law, J's, yard. His black dog runs into our yard. J looks out the window as he plays boogie woogie piano. He now has a trimmed gray beard. I motion to him that I would like to jam. He motions back by wiggling his hand —maybe later. Later we see his new fireplace. It consumes an entire wall and the smoldering logs are stacked to the ceiling. I describe my Disneyland experience to a short Asian woman. I tell her that I did try the weightlessness ride and that I got to fly. I tell her that it felt like I expected it would.
Jim Phillips got the skinny on the Super Awesome Acoustic Show and pianist Lauren Anderson by hanging out in a bar and pushing a 3-year-old in a stroller. In the process, he may have teared up a bit. Read all about the frisson-inducing showcase in ¡Viva Hyperbole! Check out a Lauren Anderson track below. Low Spirits • Super Awesome Acoustic Show • Fri Jan 25 • 9 pm • $3 • 21+ • lowspiritslive.com
Big Easy pianist/composer off-kilter and on target
By Mel Minter
You never know where pianist Tom McDermott will go haring off to next. That’s because he often hasn’t a clue, either. A daring and inventive improviser, he’s more than willing to go striding (or ragging or rumba-ing or tango-ing) through doors that lead who-knows-where. In the middle of a Scott Joplin piece, he might find an opening that leads straight to James Booker and start mixing the rag’s more straitlaced syncopation with the saucy funk of New Orleans R & B.
You can hear Montana in the piano of Grammy-winner George Winston—the open space, the stillness, the wild scents on the wind. Though several decades removed from his Montana boyhood, Winston still clearly recalls the feel of each of the four seasons up in the north country, and those sense memories continue to animate his compositions and performances. They’ve long since been interwoven with a world of musical and geographical influences—from New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair to Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Gabby Pahinui, from jazz pianist/composer Vince Guaraldi to The Doors.
New Orleans pianist/composer Tom McDermott has never played in a bordello (although he could once see one from his home), but he has absorbed the New Orleans piano professors’ traditional approach to the eighty-eights. That tradition owes a significant debt to the Big Easy’s classier houses of ill repute, which expected the solo pianist to reproduce all the excitement of a small combo—but at a much lower cost.
Vocalist and pianist dive headfirst into new projects
By Mel Minter
Arriving for the sound check before her first appearance at the Women’s Voices Concerts a few weeks back, vocalist Susan Abod wasn’t sure what to expect. She’d never played with the band for her set, led by pianist John Rangel.