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#1578258 - 12/16/10 07:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Kinda OT a little, I now realize why it's difficult to play a melody by ear in a group situation. I can't hear myself too well in the middle of guitars, drums and bass. I'm a heavy ear player so it impacts on how I play a lot. Fortunately, this is not the case in a quiet Cocktail situation.
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#1578496 - 12/17/10 02:27 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I have three cocktail gigs this weekend. Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday lunch. The lunch gig is always a little tricky, since the piano is in the dining room and we have many older guests who think I'm too loud before I even play a note.

Why, oh why, does the host always seat the oldest person in the room right next to the piano? I suspect a hearing aid makes a person super sensitive to music. Either that or they just like to complain. In any case, I take a lot of breaks on the lunch gig.

The Fri-Sat lobby gig in the castle is a DREAM. I can really play there, without ever having to worry about an overzealous F&B guy giving me the international sign for KEEP IT DOWN. How I love this job!
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RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1578512 - 12/17/10 03:16 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: TromboneAl]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Hi Al,
Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
Here's my problem when playing by ear. I can get the melody notes right 95% of the time, but I need at least 99%. Consider, for example, the second ending of On Green Dolphin Street:

PLAY BY EAR

Even if I know the song very well in my head, if I've never played it, I am not going to be able to reliably hit the notes pointed out by the arrows.

Can you do this? Is there any way to get better at it?

Absolutely. Read the article again:

http://www.articlesbase.com/music-articl...song-22725.html

You need to match the long melody notes with the chords. Most long melody tones are chord tones. Practice with a simple song like Silent Night, then go on to more complex songs. smile


Edited by Elssa (12/17/10 03:26 AM)

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#1578520 - 12/17/10 03:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I can really play there, without ever having to worry about an overzealous F&B guy giving me the international sign for KEEP IT DOWN. How I love this job!


LOL! Can you illustrate that? (for accuracy) smile
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#1578751 - 12/17/10 12:36 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
[quote][Piano Girl RMG] I suspect a hearing aid makes a person super sensitive to music.

Hey Robin with an aging population I am encountering more times when there are people with hearing aids in the audiences and the hearing aids are problematic at best. Unless they have real the expensive hearing aids they do not have much control over how musical sounds might affect them. There is this elderly gentleman who I know has been a singer for most his life but in the last two years he has lost his hearing and uses a hearing aid that he can never get right and music just does not sound the same. In fact he has said on several occasions depending on how loud it gets it can be very irritating. Plus the sounds they hear are garbled and some times do not feel or hear the warmth of the music. Here a web site dealing with this problem plus a few quotes check it out.
http://www.hearingaidforums.com/showthread.php?t=1956
[quote][Peter McC]
Post SURVEY: Feedback control and Music.
Please contribute, especially if you are a musician!
The purpose of this thread is to try and rectify the lack of public knowledge about how different aids handle music when feedback control (FBC) in is operation.
Obviously the best approach when playing a CD or attending a concert is to use a dedicated music program, with no FBC. However for general purpose automatic programs there are advantages in FBC, and when music crops up unexpectedly one doesn't want to have to stop driving or washing dishes just to change programs for a minute or two.
It is well known that the FBC algorithms used in different aids are not the same, and give varying results for music. What is NOT well known is which aids manage this well and which don't.
I am a musician with BTE aids and moderate hearing loss. I have tried the approach of turning off FBC in all my programs, with tighter earmolds, etc, and I don't enjoy the result. Obviously FBC will have some effect on music, but I would like to find an aid where I can enjoy a relatively open fitting (necessitating FBC), and where the FBC music artefacts are reasonably subtle.
[quote][ZCT]
You are quite right Peter, music is a real pain for most hearing aids. Aids are designed to enhance speech, and that pesky music people like to listen to confuses the aid into thinking it is feeding back. It then makes a series of unnecessary and annoying adjustments, which are almost as annoying as feedback would have been.
Starkey are claiming to currently have the world's most advanced feedback canceling system, according to their literature. The latest information they sent me shows it beating five top aids in blind comparison tests. But then, I guess they would tell me that!

In all seriousness, I have seen a significant improvement in the way that aids are handling music, as the chips inside get smarter and faster, they are capable of performing more sophisticated real time analysis of the sounds going into the aid, and better at handling feedback versus a sound you really want to hear. I believe Starkey tracks 16 different frequencies looking for evidence of feedback. That's quite a lot more than most aids do.
I have patients who are musicians and they have shown good results with the Destiny line of products. And I've been especially impressed with the latest anti-feedback technology.

I thought COCKTAIL PIANISTS SHOULD BE AWARE of this when playing in restaurants.
DpvJazz

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#1578854 - 12/17/10 04:17 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
At the nursing home, they sat everyone far away from the piano, and made me keep the cover closed.

Here's a related "too loud" story from an old drummer friend. He was playing in a big band, and the conductor kept telling him to play quieter. So, in rebellion, he finally just pretended to play the drums with out actually touching them. At the end of the tune, the conductor said "Perfect!"
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#1578875 - 12/17/10 04:47 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: TromboneAl]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
Here's a related "too loud" story from an old drummer friend. He was playing in a big band, and the conductor kept telling him to play quieter. So, in rebellion, he finally just pretended to play the drums with out actually touching them. At the end of the tune, the conductor said "Perfect!"


I've played with drummers like that. Meaning it sounds better if they don't play.
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#1578904 - 12/17/10 05:28 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 288
LOL, that was funny.

About missing any notes of the melody, usually the notes I get wrong are when there is a large interval or there is a key change. Whenever I learn a new tune, I practise the melody by ear and refer to the lead sheet only when necessary. If you keep on doing this for every tune you learn then you should get better at this. Use both your ear and mind when learning a tune by ear, for example work out the interval of the note you got wrong from the previous note as well as hearing it.

But maybe you're doing this already since you say you get 95% of it right.

Practising various intervals ascending and descending in whole tones, chromatically, major scale, or minor 3rds etc may also help.
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#1579177 - 12/18/10 02:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
The international sign for "keep it down" involves the F&B guy waving his arms at you from across the room--like the man in the orange suit parking airplanes on the tarmac of your favorite airport--alternating the sweeping up and down movement with his arms with the standard "shush" motion (finger in front of lips). The exaggerated movement always creates a ruckus and causes everyone in the room--even the guests who have been enjoying your music---to also assume you are playing too loudly and you are thus screwed for the rest of the night.

It has taken me DECADES to figure this out, but I now have my room managers and staff trained to come to the piano and discreetly tell me if there's a problem and to discreetly point out which table is complaining. Then I can handle the situation in a constructive way. Nobody teaches this in F&B school, so it's up to us, ladies and gentlemen of the cocktail piano trade, to educate our co-workers.

Thanks for clearing up the hearing aid confusion, DPV. I knew it was something like this. Maybe this is another point for discussion with hotel managers. I honestly think (in my case) they seat the older people (those likely to have hearing aids) close to the piano because it's the shortest distance to walk from the entrance. I will talk to management about this.

This brings up a good point. If you're lucky enough to have a steady job, make sure you make it known to your co-workers that you want to be part of their team. It makes a huge difference in the way you're treated.

Studio Joe and Al: "You have to be a helluva a good drummer to be better than no drummer at all." This is the first line of my novel (Rhythm) and it's a famous Chet Baker quote.

I once had a man come up to me after I had played for lunch in the castle. He said: "Your music is wonderful. I can hardly hear it." Then he took a business card and contacted me three months later to play for his wedding. So there you go. Quiet works.

Hey, here is a nice YouTube video posted by a photographer who used my music. I'm linking because it's a good example of what I play on my gigs. Composition is Winter Lullaby from my Songs from the Castle album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd6OwbBETBo


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www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1579183 - 12/18/10 02:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Absolutely beautiful, Robin! The video and the music are both excellent.
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#1579326 - 12/18/10 09:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
When I saw this comic in yesterday's paper, my first thought was "This is perfect for the Cocktail piano thread!" laugh

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#1579350 - 12/18/10 10:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Love this, Monica! Thank you for posting. People actually do ask for the strangest things. Not all that long ago I had a request for a Tom Jones song called BLACK BETTY, the lyric of which is something like "oh black Betty bam bam a ram." So that should give you an idea of what the tune must sound like and how wildly inappropriate it is for solo piano.

I'm of to the castle for another round of "guess how many Xmas songs they want to hear."
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www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1579529 - 12/18/10 04:32 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
offnote Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 258
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Love this, Monica! Thank you for posting. People actually do ask for the strangest things. Not all that long ago I had a request for a Tom Jones song called BLACK BETTY, the lyric of which is something like "oh black Betty bam bam a ram." So that should give you an idea of what the tune must sound like and how wildly inappropriate it is for solo piano.


so are you saying you cannot do bam bam on the piano? laugh

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#1579783 - 12/19/10 01:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
No. I do not do bam-bam. I can do bling-bling, tinka-tinka, or la-di-da. But I draw the line at bam-bam. I'll leave that to he youngsters.

On the other hand, Tom Jones, is what, like 75? And he can do bam-bam. But he has those swivel hips and tight pants—he has no choice.
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RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1579851 - 12/19/10 06:57 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
player99 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/18/10
Posts: 7
Interesting thread! smile I've been learning some easy listening pieces
myself recently, and was wondering if there were any other cocktail
pianists like this guy here making their music available online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-zFKCpZsLI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS_VZXPVMiw

Fabrizio is a pianist on a cruise liner, and even though his pieces
sound quite sophisticated I can play some of them fairly decently myself, even
though I'm only around intermediate level. Also I think it helps you to improve
faster if you come across some great music you like, as you want to put more
hours in to learn it properly smile


Edited by player99 (12/19/10 06:59 AM)

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#1579938 - 12/19/10 11:05 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Welcome to the forum, Player99.

I transcribed and learned the arpeggios in Fabrizio's Autumn Leaves, but I can't play them reliably enough for public consumption:

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#1580328 - 12/19/10 10:02 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
RayzKane Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/20/10
Posts: 11
Did you use a program like "Transcribe" from Seventh String
Software to do this?

Ray

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#1580596 - 12/20/10 12:33 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: TromboneAl]
s_winitsky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 61
You know I have always interpreted this thing as an arpeggiation of a really nice voicing.

For me I hear this as left hand plays root and fifth, right hand plays 3rd 7th and 3rd (doubling the 3rd and in this case arpeggiating the 3rd and 7th) I don't know if that's actually what he is doing, maybe I should listen more closely smile this voicing seems to work for me on minor and major 7th chords were the melody is the 3rd. Really its a very simple voicing but has a nice open/clean sound.

I find if I come across a really nice voicing, it sounds nice if I arpeggiate it quickly, slowly or not at all.

I often like to arpeggiate upper structure style voicings on dominant chords for example. Though in general I like to stay clear of these virtuoso style tricks and I hate practising arpegios and things like that smile

Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
Welcome to the forum, Player99.

I transcribed and learned the arpeggios in Fabrizio's Autumn Leaves, but I can't play them reliably enough for public consumption:



Edited by s_winitsky (12/20/10 12:47 PM)

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#1580679 - 12/20/10 02:46 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Yes apparently he's doing 5th shapes starting the 3rd. This is exactly the shape I was discussing in the two handed voicings I was talking about. He confirms it in his comments.
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#1580895 - 12/20/10 07:56 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Although I have Transcribe! now, I transcribed it before that. I probably slowed it down with Audacity.

Yes, you have it right -- arpeggiated 3rds and 7ths.

Here it is the way that I play it, played very slowly. The first three notes are at half the tempo (by mistake):

http://www.box.net/shared/2mzo75cgvz
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My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1581861 - 12/22/10 01:05 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

Hey, here is a nice YouTube video posted by a photographer who used my music. I'm linking because it's a good example of what I play on my gigs. Composition is Winter Lullaby from my Songs from the Castle album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd6OwbBETBo


This is so beautiful/dreamy, Robin.. Were you always this creative with music? Very inspiring! smile


Edited by Elssa (12/22/10 01:11 AM)

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#1581870 - 12/22/10 01:19 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: player99]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: player99
Interesting thread! smile I've been learning some easy listening pieces
myself recently, and was wondering if there were any other cocktail
pianists like this guy here making their music available online:





Thanks for posting this, Player 99. smile I really like the way he plays it (Autumn Leaves) first through in a cocktail piano style (lots of arps), and then more jazzy (walking bass). thumb


Edited by Elssa (12/22/10 01:28 AM)

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#1581878 - 12/22/10 01:54 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: player99]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: player99

Fabrizio is a pianist on a cruise liner,

That would be my dream job. thumb

Carol Cocktail Piano



http://elssa1.blogspot.com/


Edited by Elssa (12/22/10 01:57 AM)

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#1582055 - 12/22/10 09:38 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Quote:
That would be my dream job. thumb


Be careful what you wish for. I think he plays for hours and hours with no one listening at all. I've heard that the cruise line gigs can be grueling. But I think I'd kind of like that job too.

Is that "Carol Cocktail Piano" person someone you know?
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My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1582061 - 12/22/10 10:03 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: TromboneAl]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5604
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
Quote:
That would be my dream job. thumb


Be careful what you wish for. I think he plays for hours and hours with no one listening at all. I've heard that the cruise line gigs can be grueling. But I think I'd kind of like that job too.

Is that "Carol Cocktail Piano" person someone you know?


Depends on where you are on the ship, and if you can do more than play. I sat in briefly a couple of times for the girl playing the piano on a cruise. She could play anything, but she could also sing, and often led the crowd in singing all the standard stuff.

On another cruise (Royal Caribbean), we met David Curtis Mutter. He plays, he sings, and he does a running comedy routine interacting with the crowd.
Literally standing room only every time he performs.

So I'd say yes, if you just play the piano there will be times you will be playing just for yourself, still not a bad gig if you get to travel on a cruise ship free.

And there was a pianist doing just that on the same cruise with the girl I mentioned earlier. She was in the "piano bar", he was playing the piano next to a bar in the main atrium.

But it you can sing and interact with the crowd, you will pull in a lot more people. It's sort of in the middle between cocktail pianist and primary entertainer.

More than background music, less then headliner.

I thought about trying to get a gig on a cruise ship, but they require a minimum 90 day commitment, some of them require 6 months. And you get very little time in port.

In other words, you gotta love it.

Now if Kathy (my girlfriend) could join me as the singer (she has a great voice), that could work :-)
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#1582248 - 12/22/10 03:26 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: TromboneAl]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: TromboneAl
Quote:
That would be my dream job. thumb


Be careful what you wish for. I think he plays for hours and hours with no one listening at all. I've heard that the cruise line gigs can be grueling. But I think I'd kind of like that job too.

Is that "Carol Cocktail Piano" person someone you know?

No, I found her videos in a YouTube search I did for "cocktail piano music". I was just reading her posts, though, and I think she said she does four 40 minute sets a night, so I take back what I said about "dream job".. I don't think I'd have the stamina to do even half that. eek

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#1582587 - 12/23/10 01:04 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Four forty-minutes sets is a pretty typical job, especially once you enter the "piano zone" and your brain kind of detaches itself from what your hands are doing. It's a cool feeling. Not that I've experimented with drugs (who, ME?) but it's a little like being high. I think it might be similar to what a runner experiences a few miles into a marathon. Hard to describe, and it doesn't happen on every gig, but when it does, you'll know it.

I've never done a cruise ship gig. This creates a big hole in the Piano Girl resume, because I know these gigs are a huge part of the lives of many working musicians. Frank, I have always had the same problem—the few times I've been contacted for these jobs, the contracts were for six months or longer. And I didn't want to leave my Manhattan piano job for that long to cruise around the Greek Islands, tempting as it sounded. I think those offers always came from the Peter Duchin office.

Another confession: I suffer terribly from motion sickness. In one of the Marriott chapters of PG I describe having to play occasionally in the revolving bar overlooking Times Square. It was AWFUL for me. For years after that, whenever I was offered a job, once of the first things I would ask was whether or not anything was rotating or spinning in the room. I just can't take it. So maybe it's better I've stayed off the ship.

Anyone playing Christmas cocktail gigs? Anyone figure out yet how "Carol of the Bells" ends? That piece is always fun to play at first, but then it starts feeling like water torture and then I can't figure out how to get out without sounding ridiculous, so I keep playing thinking something will occur to me, but then it never does.. Death by Carol.



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www.goldsby.de
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RHYTHM: A Novel
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#1582775 - 12/23/10 10:53 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano World]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
Originally Posted By: Piano World

Depends on where you are on the ship, and if you can do more than play. I sat in briefly a couple of times for the girl playing the piano on a cruise. She could play anything, but she could also sing, and often led the crowd in singing all the standard stuff.

On another cruise (Royal Caribbean), we met David Curtis Mutter. He plays, he sings, and he does a running comedy routine interacting with the crowd.
Literally standing room only every time he performs.


I've been on two different cruises where I have seen this too. Four weeks ago, I cruised on the Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam, where David Seering was playing, singing, and jousting with the audience. At 9 PM when he started at the piano, there was about a 4 minute gap between empty and full in the bar piano room. Very talented man from Destin, FL. Sort of a Frank Sinatra type voice, but lots of range and capability. The best I have seen on any cruise.

About 3 or 4 years ago on the Princess line we were entertained by a young Phillipino (Arnie G) who had a Johnny Mathis type voice. Excellent singer, good piano player, and very entertaining. He still performs on Princess.

I won't mention the name of the mediocre player we heard on the only other cruise we took.

But two out of three, right?

Hop


Edited by Hop (12/23/10 10:53 AM)
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#1583178 - 12/24/10 12:36 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Hop]
player99 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/18/10
Posts: 7
Quote:


But two out of three, right?



Two out of three ain't bad! (That's what Meatloaf tells me anyway.) smile

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#1583212 - 12/24/10 02:34 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Anyone figure out yet how "Carol of the Bells" ends? That piece is always fun to play at first, but then it starts feeling like water torture and then I can't figure out how to get out without sounding ridiculous, so I keep playing thinking something will occur to me, but then it never does.. Death by Carol.



Well, here's my arrangement of "Carol of the Bells".. This is definitely one of those songs that puts me in that good "piano zone" you mentioned. I type for a living, about 6 hours a day (medical transcription), so actually, guess I could handle that cocktail piano schedule - but playing the piano would be so much more fun! smile Anyway, for the ending of Carol... I just did a little echo run up/arpeggio and then plunked down on that chord a couple times.. Simple - but it works. grin


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