A Student of the Game

May 19, 2017

I've found myself becoming a student of the piano lately. Some of you may be thinking, "Well, I would hope so. You're supposed to be a jazz pianist!" While this is true, I've never truly thought of myself as a jazz pianist. In all actuality, I've been a drummer for as long as I could walk. I started playing drums before I could speak a word. As a matter of fact, I don't know what it feels like to not know how to play the drums. But piano has been the instrument that sort of sits on a pedestal in my mind. It's the instrument that I have to work extremely hard at to master while drums came naturally. But I've always admired the way my mother played the piano with ease, and I wanted to attain that ability.

 

During my quest to "master" the piano, I've come across some of the greatest pianists to ever tickle the ivory. Of the many, many pianists that I study, the one that stands out the most is Erroll Garner, by far in fact. His ability to play with such ease captivates me every time. He was truly gifted. There are arguably a few other jazz pianists that were considered to be more technically sound than Erroll (Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Phineas Newborn Jr. to name a few), however he had a unique presence and a matchless amount of feel. Lastly, he couldn't read a note of music. As he said, "They can't hear you read." I've made it my mission to learn what made him tick.

 

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