I just posted a fifteen-minute cocktail piano set on YouTube that I hope you might enjoy.
I’m going to be posting more sets like this soon, for those who enjoy cocktail piano music. It’s relaxing cocktail style playing like you might hear when you go out to dinner in a nice restaurant. So if you are dining by candle light at home, put it on for some ambience.
I’m playing pretty much without thinking about what I am doing, just my normal style I would play at a cocktail gig. When I play solo I am a soft-touchjazz pianist, not playing with a heavy hand or digging into the keys with any force. This is my preferred way to play when I play alone. If I am playing solo blues piano or jazz with a band, then I dig in with a lot of force. But alone, I like to caress the keys and explore in a soft, easy listening jazz style.
If you are interested in playing cocktail style yourself, please come over to the web site and see if any of the cocktail video lessons interest you, if you haven’t done so already.
Learning by watching. . . If you play standards or are studying with any of my jazz lessons, you might enjoy seeing the video as much as hearing it. I have the camera positioned above the keyboard so you can follow what my hands are doing on most of the tracks.
I’ve found that one can pick up a lot of ideas by just watching another piano player’s hands. When I go to a concert I always try to position myself so I can see the pianist’s hands to see what I can absorb by osmosis. I also like to trade ideas with my pianist friends and I am often fascinated by the way they position their hands and their fingering. Especially with my self-taught pianist friends. Their hand positions are so very different than mine with all my background of classical training.
Seeing hands on the keyboard is such a personal thing, the movement, the positions the touch, etc. I've sat very close, watching the hands of Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans. (Please follow some of the links I have made so you can hear them yourself.)
When I was still in college, my dad was working at times with piano legend, Jimmy Rowles, in the studios. He arranged it with Jimmy for me sit in a chair next to him at the piano while he played his cocktail gig in Hollywood. It was one of the most valuable lessons I've ever had sitting there for two hours at his side. I'll also always remember when he took a set break he said he had something else important to teach me. He held up his bourbon glass and said, "Stay away from this stuff!" I didn’t really get it at the time but later in my career I had a difficult time following that advice.
Open Voicings Study Group
The Open Voicings Study Group has just completed lessons on two songs, Autumn Leaves and Fly Me to the Moon. We will be starting on a new song soon.
The pianists studying in the group learn how to read and play standards, from lead sheets in a fake book, using chord concept.
If you have interest in joining this online group, just go to the Cocktail Piano Lessons page and scroll to the very bottom for more information, then contact me by email. email@example.com
Ok, set break is over. I have to get back to the piano before the boss sees me writing this email!