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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2160215
09/30/13 06:58 PM
09/30/13 06:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 125
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
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What a great thread, not only as an interesting topic to discuss but also for all the great song suggestions it generated!

I'd echo what others have said about things like "energy" being in the eye of the beholder. I'm not saying this is you at all, but I think some musicians sort of forget that their own sense of "energy" and "having a good time" can be vastly different from that of an audience, and that it can differ from one audience to another. For better or worse, I think it often relates, very generally, to what style of music and/or what kind of "approach" to music was popular when those in the audience were in their teens and twenties. This could translate not only into switching from big band standards to Beatles tunes, for example, but it could also mean switching from lots of improvisation and/or harmonic substitutions/deviations into something closer to playing tunes like they are on the record.

Looking at it purely from a business standpoint, you could suppose that the person in charge is ultimately interested in what "pushes the buttons" of the crowd, and then (again, from a business perspective) it becomes your job to try and figure out what that is, and "push those buttons." However, looking at it from an artistic standpoint, this opens the can of worms about whether you, as an artist, are willing to be "that" pianist. (Maybe you are, which is perfectly fine- just saying that business and artistic goals don't always line up, which I'm sure you know).

It's unfortunate that you weren't told more specifics about what it was that you didn't do, and even more unfortunate that you weren't told from the beginning, since it could have prevented the problem before it ever happened. It's also unfortunate that many owners/F&B managers etc. honestly can't articulate what it is they want or don't want (not because they're not smart enough, but because it's not their area of expertise). It becomes an "I'll know it when I see it" guessing game, as you try a little of this and that to see if he/she likes it. I try to tell a "boss" of a gig something to the effect that, since I'm improvising instead of reading, it's like I've got lots of little 'dials' in my head, which can be turned up or down. I can play faster vs. slower, more "in your face" vs. more "in the background," "happier" vs. "darker," and so on-- and that they can *let me know* throughout the gig if they want me to "adjust" one or more of those dials. It certainly doesn't solve all barriers of communication, but it gives us a common ground as a starting point, and it shows from the start that I (and I'm sure, you) am not just a "one-flavor" pianist.

I can definitely identify with both sides, because we're not all experts in articulating what we want in all areas. I have to admit that I've told the person cutting my hair more than once, "um, I'm not sure how much to cut off or how much was cut off last time, exactly, but can you make it look good? I think I'll know it when I see it..." smile

James






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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: JamesPlaysPiano] #2165871
10/14/13 12:37 AM
10/14/13 12:37 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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I think boogie-woogie is loads of fun to play, not too difficult, and usually gets the joint jumpin'. grin



Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2167724
10/17/13 01:07 PM
10/17/13 01:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 516
California
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Michael Martinez Offline
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California
Boogie Woogie or the stride piano style. Those are always favorite styles in a bar setting, particularly noisy or rambunctuous bars. They're also pretty physically demanding, with the potential to cause problems to your hands and wrists, so I wouldn't recommend making a whole set out of just boogie woogie. But definitely learn a few songs in that style.

Or, get a gig at a quiet bar/lounge setting where the pianist is expected to play soft music that keeps out of the way.

Petrucciani had a nice melodic right hand - a lot of right-on-the-money counterpoint - and could play those way upper registers in a way most people don't. His playing was exquisite, his harmonizations sophisticated and on the money, his improvisations exactly how improvised jazz should be.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 10/17/13 01:38 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2167780
10/17/13 03:45 PM
10/17/13 03:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,903
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Referring to that important reference volume, The Great Looney Tunes Collection (1990 ed.), some songs that pop out are:

Ain't We Got Fun
Carolina in the Morning
Forty-Second Street
Get Happy
The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)
Hello! Ma Baby
I'm Just Wild about Harry
The Lady in Red
The Latin Corner
Nagasaki
Oh, Johnny Oh
Shuffle Off to Buffalo
The Toy Trumpet
You Oughta Be in Pictures
You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me


I am sorry that book is out of print today. The current volume is nowhere near as good a collection, although it does have more high-energy Raymond Scott. Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals would be appropriate for a restaurant, I suppose.


Semipro Tech
Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: BDB] #2168099
10/18/13 11:16 AM
10/18/13 11:16 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 393
Westchester County, New York
J
Jim Frazee Offline
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Posts: 393
Westchester County, New York
Some more:

A Fine Romance
Ain't Misbehavin'
Alice in Wonderland
All the Things You Are
Autumn Leaves
Desifinado
Do Nuthin' 'Til Hear From Me
East of the Sun
Easy to Love
Green Dolphin Street
How High the Moon
I'll Remember April
I'll Take Romance
Indiana
It Could Happen to You
Joy Spring
Lady Is A Tramp
Meditation
Scotch "N" Soda
Summertime
Take the A Train
There Is No Greater Love
Up Jumped Spring
Waltz for Debby
Watch What Happens
Watermelon Man
Wave
While We're Young
Work Song
You Make Me Feel So Young

Good luck. More often than not, I used to find that it was the employees (who heard the same tunes every night) that got tired of my playing. I just changed things around and (now) almost never play the same song for three nights (unless it's a request) in a row. That also keeps things interesting for you, whether as solo or as a trio member.

Last edited by Jim Frazee; 10/18/13 11:18 AM.

PianoPerfection
Teacher, performer, technician
Westchester County, NY
Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Jim Frazee] #2168722
10/19/13 10:45 PM
10/19/13 10:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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NY
Great song list, Jim! thumb


Take The A Train (Duke Ellington)


Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Jim Frazee] #2168897
10/20/13 10:29 AM
10/20/13 10:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,307
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Northern England.
If I may say so, the above list is more than a tad dated. Most people who relate to it would be either musicians or dead. Some of them I used to play about 5 years ago now, but I wouldn`t any more. Pop ballads and funky easy listening stuff seems OK this side of the pond, the object being to relax the diners and encourage them to drink/eat more. It`s great if nobody pays you any attention; means you`ll be playing next week . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: peterws] #2168915
10/20/13 11:34 AM
10/20/13 11:34 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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NY
I must beg to differ. smile Here in New York there are plenty of venues that feature the jazz standards and songs from The Great American Songbook, and the music is enjoyed and appreciated. Then there are other places that feature more modern jazz/pop music as well.

Bert Rechtschaffer is one great local pianist who plays mostly the "old" classic jazz standards (with his trio, not solo), and whenever I've heard him play it's been a full house and they obviously loved the music. thumb

http://www.bertrechtschaffer.com/BertRechtschaffer.com/Welcome.html



Last edited by Elssa; 10/20/13 11:41 AM.
Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Elssa] #2168927
10/20/13 12:07 PM
10/20/13 12:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,307
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Northern England.
I can appreciate this, Elssa. But is this in a sophiosticated restaurant setting amid the clinks of cutlery and the waitresses` shouts of "More CHIPS!!" as she kicks in the kitchen door . . .

And you`re playing next to that same bloody door; Liverpool waitresses are the worst . . .but they`re also the best looking and funny too.

Memories! Wonder if they want me back?? eek

Last edited by peterws; 10/20/13 12:08 PM.

"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2168942
10/20/13 12:44 PM
10/20/13 12:44 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 181
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RonL Offline
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Who has been stealing my set list? Lol.i do a lot of tunes mentioned as well. Billy Joel's root beer rag always perked things up.

I know what people mean though about the great American song book stuff. They are great tunes but almost a hundred years old at this point...ok 80 yrs.

It's hard to do solo piano versions of a lot of things, besides ny state of mind or piano man. I confess I don't even know what half the tunes rintincop suggested even are LOL which isn't to say they just wouldn't work I just don't know them.

You have to find a place to play that is a good fit for you. I do an Italian restaurant once in a while and play all the Sinatra stuff and the love theme from the godfather and it goes over.


Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: peterws] #2168993
10/20/13 02:26 PM
10/20/13 02:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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NY
I go to hear Bert play his jazz standards at a local place called "Chill Wine Bar" in Beacon, NY.. it's like an artsy classy bar & grill type of place. smile

Well, personally I enjoy playing and listening to all types of music.. In addition to the jazz standards, I play a lot of Beatles, Carole King, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Elton John,as well as some boogie-woogie and ragtime, etc. It's all good and fun IMO. whome I have to admit most places around here that have live music feature "classic rock" performers and groups.

Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Elssa] #2169019
10/20/13 03:37 PM
10/20/13 03:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,307
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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In your neck o` the woods (lol) there will always be everything going on. Guess there is here too, if I looked for it. Jazz here is mainly bog standard New Orleans (v fast, or v slow) by tired old beer drinking musicians who die before they`re 65. I know, `cos I played at the Crem . . . . eek


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2169135
10/20/13 08:15 PM
10/20/13 08:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,314
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

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Joined: Aug 2005
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Lexington, Kentucky
My favorite energetic piano solo is Croatian Rhapsody:

[video:youtube]7DKBKZ8Cxeo[/video]

Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: peterws] #2169252
10/21/13 02:41 AM
10/21/13 02:41 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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Elssa  Offline
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NY
Originally Posted by peterws
In your neck o` the woods (lol) there will always be everything going on. Guess there is here too, if I looked for it. Jazz here is mainly bog standard New Orleans (v fast, or v slow) by tired old beer drinking musicians who die before they`re 65. I know, `cos I played at the Crem . . . . eek

Well, if you play anywhere in New York, you have to play this song - it's the law. LOL shocked Anyway, it's a nice upbeat, bouncy tune. smile




Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2169349
10/21/13 08:30 AM
10/21/13 08:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,326
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Sir Lurksalot Offline
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I see that the OP hasn't posted in this thread for over three years, yet still visits this forum occasionally. Any updates, Redhead?

Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Elssa] #2169372
10/21/13 09:18 AM
10/21/13 09:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,401
uk south
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beeboss Offline
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Originally Posted by Elssa

Well, if you play anywhere in New York, you have to play this song - it's the law. LOL shocked Anyway, it's a nice upbeat, bouncy tune. smile




upbeat but is it nice



Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Monica K.] #2169852
10/22/13 12:25 AM
10/22/13 12:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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NY
That's a great recording/performance, Monica.

Here's one that's fun to play.

Two Guitars (Russian Gypsy Folk Song)


Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Sir Lurksalot] #2170820
10/23/13 06:27 PM
10/23/13 06:27 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 156
R
Redhead1 Offline OP
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Posts: 156
Originally Posted by Sir Lurksalot
I see that the OP hasn't posted in this thread for over three years, yet still visits this forum occasionally. Any updates, Redhead?


These days I check in on this forums every 2-3 months, and was amused this afternoon to see this thread revived - wow, that experience feels like a long time ago!

My best guess, looking back, is that the owner just didn't like my style of playing and maybe wanted someone who could "noodle" or improvise more.

Since then, I worked for 13 months at a department store in local mall, which gave me a lot of experience reading from fake books and improving my skills overall. It was a great experience, but after a year I decided to move on from playing for ten dollars an hour, instead focus on playing for weddings.

This is where I played this weekend:
http://www.pianojenny.com/Recent-Weddings.html

Thanks for making this a fun and active thread! smile

Redhead



Jennifer McCoy Blaske
Pianist and Author
www.PianoJenny.com
Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2170900
10/23/13 09:34 PM
10/23/13 09:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,171
Louisiana
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Rerun Offline
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Louisiana
I listened to you play RedHead ... really nice work!! Ok, this is a trivia test....What high school did Mike Nesmith graduate from and what church did he and his mom go to on Northwest Highway?

Just kidding about the test ... his mom and my mom were good friends when I was a kid.

Last edited by Rerun; 10/24/13 07:05 AM.

Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD


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Re: What are your favorite "upbeat" pieces with "energy"? [Re: Redhead1] #2171310
10/24/13 01:27 PM
10/24/13 01:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,663
NY
Elssa Offline
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NY
Originally Posted by Redhead1


Since then, I worked for 13 months at a department store in local mall, which gave me a lot of experience reading from fake books and improving my skills overall. It was a great experience, but after a year I decided to move on from playing for ten dollars an hour, instead focus on playing for weddings.

This is where I played this weekend:
http://www.pianojenny.com/Recent-Weddings.html


That's a crime to get paid only $10.00/hour with all the skill and hard work it takes to play for hours on end. Well, I guess that's only what Nordstrom's pays,too, and now most stores don't even have pianists anymore, unfortunately. Glad to hear everything is going so well with your wedding gigs, though. smile


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