Misty (Erroll Garner)
The lights are somewhat dim, the conversation is light, and the wine glasses are being filled as a toast is about to be made honoring a lady who appears to be one table’s honored guest. The ambience is just right, and this is largely due to your artistic contribution. A good number of cheerful gazes and smiles seem to be aimed toward your direction.
From the very first night you were hired, they knew it was the right decision and have been asking you back ever since. Your music fills the interspaces of the atmosphere with that “special something.” In between words being traded at each and every table while hors d’oeuvre trays are being taken away and main entrees anticipated, your improvised rendition of Ray Noble’s The Very Thought Of You sets the scene in a most romantic way.
As you prepare to bring this classic standard to a conclusion, you notice the lady at the far corner table showing her approval as she sings the lyrics quietly to herself. That’s enough reason for you to continue, so you head back to the beginning of the chorus. This time around, you’ll incorporate a little bit of stride.
Her dinner arrives as you approach the coda. You decide to delicately improvise over the changes as she raises her wine glass with appreciation. She has enjoyed your “conversation.” Gosh, you really know how to play to a crowd, don’t you…
You’re a hit and the night is still young! There’s nothing quite like this feeling of “being at the wheel.” After all, you have a profound impact on everyone around you. You love what you do.
Just seconds before you make your way into an intro to Steve Barta’s Fly Me To The Moon, a gentleman in a suit and tie makes his way over to you and hands you a folded slip of paper as he smiles in gratitude. While he returns to his family at the table, you inconspicuously reveal the note. Behind the $10 bill tucked in the fold, the ink reads, “It’s my Mom’s birthday and she asks that you play ‘Misty’ for her. Please and thank you. Your playing is sensational!”
My sincerest apologies, Mr. Barta, but you’ll have to wait until the next set. Erroll Garner has been called upon to sing Happy Birthday.
Life is good.
If you are a pro cocktail pianist, perhaps you’ve already experienced some nights like that. If not, maybe you aspire to. Or maybe you don’t have a goal of playing piano for a living but it’s still a passion and playing at home for guests and/or yourself is a passion of yours. Whatever the case may be, the art of playing cocktail piano is something you enjoy. One thing that makes it so enjoyable, for sure, is that there is always more to learn.
That has been a primary reason for my continuous number of years of having fun at those keys: there’s always more to learn. It never gets stale. I love being creative at the piano keyboard. That’s something I was encouraged to do from a very early age. That brings me to the reason this site is here. I have a passion for sharing what I know with people like you. Really, I do. Whenever I receive an email from a visitor, I experience gratitude and hope that my interaction somehow provides some positive energy.
Playing cocktail piano is something I have enjoyed doing for a very long time. I was in my twenties when my curiosity for enhanced creativity really took over. Ever since, my love for this art form has continued to thrive and blossom. Yes, it’s flourished to the point of my wanting to be by your side to help you release the creative juices that indeed are within you awaiting to flow. I may not be able to meet up with you personally. But, my dear friend, this is the next best thing. So, let me ask you… are you up for it?
You are unique. Without ever having crossed your path, I know this to be true. Although hundreds of visitors may be reading these words, you – yes, YOU reading this now – are someone pretty exclusive.
Tonight, the spotlight is on you, friend. You have musical talents and abilities that are yet to be realized. Play on! I would consider it a personal pleasure and privilege if your time invested here, even in some small way, helps your creative ability to shine on those keys. You are my inspiration.
With respect and admiration,