On March 12, 1924 American pianist and composer, George Gershwin, performed his famous Rhapsody In Blue for the very first time in public at Aeolian hall in New York City. The piece, that would become one of the greatest piano “jazz concertos” of the the 20th century, ushered in the new age of American Jazz music. It was most controversial and considered by many an outrageous stunt at the time.
Piano music is one of the most sought after elements of a special event entertainment whether it is a wedding cocktail hour, a rehearsal dinner or the Mother’s Day brunch. I always liked to listen to an enjoyed pianists that have their own style of interpretation but still stick to playing songs as they were originally written or intended.
An experienced pianist has the ability to change the atmosphere of an event on a dime. Whether the fare it is jazz or adult contemporary music, a knowledgeable musician can feel the mood swings of an audience – even at cocktail time, and be able to bring more intensity, more sensitivity to the keyboard.
I love to read the minds of people listening to me perform solo piano in Atlanta and try to size them up and figure out what songs I choose is going to pique their interest. Even to the extent that he or she will stop in mid conversation with someone, take notice and in some small way smile or give the a thumb’s – this will usually make my night.
I am frequently made aware of how many musical selections I perform bring a tear to one’s eye as I just roused an unexpected memory or a thought of a loved one no longer with us. One woman not long along at an Atlanta country club came up to the piano thanking me for “The Very Thought of You” and said “that was our song”. I was extremely touched and gratified. ~JT