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Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: Docbop] #2845993
05/07/19 06:37 AM
05/07/19 06:37 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

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ClsscLib  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by Docbop
Cocktail piano has *nothing* to do with real Jazz. Cocktail piano is like what used to be called Easy Listening music it's fluffy background music.



That’s an overgeneralization.

There is a range of repertoire, style, and skills among working pianists who play cocktail gigs. Some do play real jazz tunes and material that is hardly “fluffy.”

There’s really no need to stoop to unnecessary and inaccurate sweeping pejorative characterizations about real musicians who are working hard to make people happy through music.




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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
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Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846003
05/07/19 07:37 AM
05/07/19 07:37 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,931
Israel
N
Nahum Offline
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Nahum  Offline
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N

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,931
Israel
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by Docbop
Cocktail piano has *nothing* to do with real Jazz. Cocktail piano is like what used to be called Easy Listening music it's fluffy background music.





There’s really no need to stoop to unnecessary and inaccurate sweeping pejorative characterizations about real musicians who are working hard to make people happy through music.


+1

Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: ClsscLib] #2846005
05/07/19 07:39 AM
05/07/19 07:39 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline


Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
There’s really no need to stoop to unnecessary and inaccurate sweeping pejorative characterizations about real musicians who are working hard to make people happy through music.

Well said! thumb


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846019
05/07/19 08:47 AM
05/07/19 08:47 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 236
M
Michael P Walsh Offline
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I refer to it as accessible (for your average person in the street) jazz. I'm sure that's not the only interpretation of the term. I'm somewhat of a hardened classical guy (beginner pianist though) but I'm very fond of the cocktail style, to the extent that I'm heading that way in my own playing.

Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: Michael P Walsh] #2846031
05/07/19 09:19 AM
05/07/19 09:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by Michael P Walsh
I refer to it as accessible (for your average person in the street) jazz. I'm sure that's not the only interpretation of the term. I'm somewhat of a hardened classical guy (beginner pianist though) but I'm very fond of the cocktail style, to the extent that I'm heading that way in my own playing.


That seems to me a much fairer way to put it.

In the classical music world -- where I've spent a lot of time -- comparing "light classical" or "pops" to traditional classical music doesn't have the same pejorative relationship as that which exists regarding "easy listening" vs "jazz."

Some music played by good pianists doing cocktail gigs is jazz-based, but other tunes are from shows, the GAS, or popular music. (And great jazz musicians, of course, often tap shows, the GAS, and popular music as sources for indubitably great jazz interpretations.)

I consider a good pianist doing these gigs as always worth listening to, even though many in the room may not be doing active listening.



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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: ClsscLib] #2846033
05/07/19 09:21 AM
05/07/19 09:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline


Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Some music played by good pianists doing cocktail gigs is jazz-based, but other tunes are from shows, the GAS, or popular music. I consider a good pianist doing these gigs as always worth listening to, even though many in the room may not be doing active listening.

This is a great point and probably contributes to the lack of "definition" around what is "cocktail piano." I've been in restaurants and piano bars where the cocktail pianist was definitely not playing jazz - for example, they'd play showtunes, which has about as much relation to jazz as Chopin would.

But in the end, it's only a name. For some people, it's possible "accessible jazz" does include showtunes / GAS, or maybe even rock standards. The average man on the street can't be expected to be too precise in matters such as this.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2846034
05/07/19 09:28 AM
05/07/19 09:28 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020


Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Some music played by good pianists doing cocktail gigs is jazz-based, but other tunes are from shows, the GAS, or popular music. I consider a good pianist doing these gigs as always worth listening to, even though many in the room may not be doing active listening.

...I've been in restaurants and piano bars where the cocktail pianist was definitely not playing jazz - for example, they'd play showtunes, which has about as much relation to jazz as Chopin would....


Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, and others wrote a lot of show tunes that were awfully close to being jazz compositions (and that formed the foundation of the GAS). Needless to say, even a lot of show tunes that clearly are not jazz music have been the basis for great jazz interpretations. That's also true even for some top 40-type popular music.


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846035
05/07/19 09:31 AM
05/07/19 09:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
....All of which confirms to me the wisdom of those two great Ellington observations:

There are only two kinds of music -- good music and the other kind; and

If it sounds good, it is good.


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846087
05/07/19 01:00 PM
05/07/19 01:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 337
Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline
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Simon_b  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 337
Kent, UK
Hi

No necessarily an answer to the OP, but my 10p worth.

Bottom line cocktail Piano is mainly background music, but it can still be Jazz Piano, played with taste and restraint.

Having done a bit myself, to a very low standard, many years ago, I used to mix it up. I would play 'Charade' with flowery arpeggios and frequently got compliments from a lovely waitress at the Restaurant. Then I might play a slow blues and follow that with a Jazz standard and improvise a bit. Mind you I'm not a proper Jazz pianist, and I never took chances and stayed well within my own safe limits. I never played any classical when I was doing it, simply because I had nothing in my repertoire then. If I had, I certainly might have played some Bach or Chopin. An old guy once tipped me £5 after I had played "Ain't Misbehavin'" and said "that reminded me of the old days when I used to listen to Fats Waller". I should add I can't play like Fats Waller.... at all!

The fact that some elements of Jazz Piano, such as George Shearing's locked hands technique (though not his invention), have become part of the cocktail Pianists armory shows there is a link. But that same cocktail Pianist might also play some Chopin, some Beatles tunes etc etc.

So in my view the best cocktail pianists are vastly under-rated. They may or may not be Jazz Pianists, but they are very versatile and lets face it they are professional musicians trying to earn a living, so they should have our support. Sadly the term seems to be used in a derogatory way sometimes. It shouldn't be!

Cheers

Simon


Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio CTK-7200
Hammond XB1

Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: ClsscLib] #2846099
05/07/19 01:41 PM
05/07/19 01:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 74
Left Coast of US
D
Docbop Offline
Full Member
Docbop  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 74
Left Coast of US
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by Docbop
Cocktail piano has *nothing* to do with real Jazz. Cocktail piano is like what used to be called Easy Listening music it's fluffy background music.



That’s an overgeneralization.

There is a range of repertoire, style, and skills among working pianists who play cocktail gigs. Some do play real jazz tunes and material that is hardly “fluffy.”

There’s really no need to stoop to unnecessary and inaccurate sweeping pejorative characterizations about real musicians who are working hard to make people happy through music.




I am very accurate in what I'm saying like most you don't know the difference between real Jazz and Jazz as a style of music. Real Jazz is an approach to playing, in fact it doesn't even have to be what you call Jazz it all about pushing boundaries constantly exploring. Too many people think rolling eighth notes and playing extended chords makes something Jazz it doesn't.

Oh well enjoy yourselves I'm outta here.

Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846136
05/07/19 03:56 PM
05/07/19 03:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Whatevs.


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[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846699
05/09/19 08:50 AM
05/09/19 08:50 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Speaking of accessible jazz vs. not so much, I first saw these folks, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, perform in Chicago in 1971. I saw them a few times later on in NYC. No one would accuse them of selling out to accessibility: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/...nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=270993150509


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: ClsscLib] #2846831
05/09/19 03:56 PM
05/09/19 03:56 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020
ClsscLib  Offline

Unobtanium Supporter until Jun 020 2020


Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 3,000
Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Speaking of accessible jazz vs. not so much, I first saw these folks, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, perform in Chicago in 1971. I saw them a few times later on in NYC. No one would accuse them of selling out to accessibility: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/...nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=270993150509


I meant 1975, not 1971. Sorry.


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: pianolearnerstride] #2846873
05/09/19 07:10 PM
05/09/19 07:10 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,418
Owen Sound, Ontario
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Greener Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Owen Sound, Ontario
It is not an "exactly" kind of thing. It is simply piano music you may hear in a lounge. Agree that it is background and not a show. So, go easy on the far out stuff. Also, recognizeable tunes go over the best. But really, anything is game. Good to know Moon River and others that are highly requested. Seems like it is it's own genre, but it really isn't.

Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: Docbop] #2847030
05/10/19 11:24 AM
05/10/19 11:24 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 7
Tasmania Australia
Piano of Tasmania Offline
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Piano of Tasmania  Offline
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Posts: 7
Tasmania Australia


This is the kind of Background music I play in cocktail bars smile


My YouTube channel: A Piano of Tasmania
Re: What exactly is cocktail piano as opposed to jazz piano? [Re: Piano of Tasmania] #2847034
05/10/19 11:35 AM
05/10/19 11:35 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
Tyrone Slothrop  Offline


Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,898
Originally Posted by Piano of Tasmania
This is the kind of Background music I play in cocktail bars smile

That link didn't work because there was stuff at the end of the URL. Here is your video again:



across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
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