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Topic Options
#2629060 - 04/01/17 01:21 PM The Piano players that inspired me to play
Simon_b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 83
Loc: Kent, UK
Hi

I had formal, i.e. classical, Piano lessons for about 6 months when I was about 8 or 9. Some years later as tall lanky gawky teenager I was still trying to play the Piano, but classical really wasn't my thing. Then a friend of mine gave me a cassette of Elton Johns greatest hits (in about 1975 I guess). So I wanted to play like Elton; but couldn't of course....

So Elton John was my first inspiration.

As I slowly moved away from relying completely on sheet music, Boogie Woogie became an obsession and so did Jerry Lee Lewis. Inspiration number 2. After that the floodgates opened and over the years I've been obsessed and inspired by.....

(the order is entirely random)

Keith Emerson
Billy Joel
Dr John
Henry Butler
Prof Longhair
James Booker
Dudley Moore
Ray Charles
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy McGriff
Erroll Garner
Oscar Peterson
Carole King
Jack McDuff
Michel Petrucciani
Keith Jarrett
Chick Corea

A few Organ players have crept in somehow!

I'm sure there are many more that I've missed (especially Jazz Pianists). But these are the guys and girl that made me want to play...

Who inspired you?
_________________________
Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio WK-7600
Hammond XB1
It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play, and sometimes I still play it.

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#2629064 - 04/01/17 01:47 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
tend to rush Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 167
Like your list. A little surprised not to find Leon on it. Nice to see the New Orleans players. I'd add Allen Toussaint. If you like the organists, you mike check out Dr. Lonnie Smith. A guy named Wild Bill Davis was among the first of what we now think of as the jazz Hammond guys (Waller and Basie really playing a different style). I'm a fan of Chucho Valdez and Michel Camilo, on the Latin side. This could go on forever.

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#2629265 - 04/02/17 03:05 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Simon_b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 83
Loc: Kent, UK
No Leon is definitely on my list.... How could I forget him! I've spent many happy hours trying to recreate his unique style.
I love Allen Toussaint as well, but strangely he's not a player that I've ever been obsessed with, perhaps because his other talents hid his Piano playing.

A few others that spring to mind now:

Dave Brubeck
Count Basie
Milt Buckner

Cheers
_________________________
Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio WK-7600
Hammond XB1
It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play, and sometimes I still play it.

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#2629290 - 04/02/17 04:44 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Simon_b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 83
Loc: Kent, UK
Bill Evans

That's it!
_________________________
Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio WK-7600
Hammond XB1
It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play, and sometimes I still play it.

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#2630200 - 04/04/17 06:44 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Jon Pumper Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/17
Posts: 10
You hit a lot of mine - the one addition I would add is Randy Newman. His style really influenced my playing (particularly in terms of the way I improvise).

Also, as I work for an improv comedy club, Laura Hall (from Whose Line Is it Anyways) has most certainly influenced the work I do there.
_________________________
Jon Pumper

youtube.com/jonpumper

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#2630220 - 04/04/17 08:48 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
RonDrotos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 130
Loc: New York City
I heard Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert recording when I was 15 and decided I wanted to play piano for the rest of my life. I also listened to the progressive rock keyboardists like Keith Emerson and Patrick Moraz. Also Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

Looking back, I can see the pattern: they all played in many different styles of music, which I enjoy doing as well!

The funny thing is that it wasn't until I went to music school in college that I found out that not everyone improvised. I just assumed that every pianist could improvise!
_________________________
Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com

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#2630286 - 04/05/17 04:01 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Nahum Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/27/14
Posts: 1907
Loc: Israel
I started listening to jazz constantly from 11 years; but at first it was a passive perception of favorite music in its general sound. Only at the age of 15, when I started playing gigs, and had to start to learn specific styles. The first were Oscar Peterson and Errol Garner.Next year I received a gift - a three-speed tape recorder, and began recording music from BBC Radio and Voice of America Jazz Hour with Willis Conover, and then transcribe a bit of Peterson, and much more of Bobby Timmons and Wynton Kelly.This became my first jazz teacher - after nine months of such work, I started playing exactly the style of hardbop. In 1964, I was drafted into the army, and for 3 years I did not play the piano and heard very little jazz; including vinyl of Coltrane A love Supreme, who influenced me in the deepest possible way. In parallel I learned autodidactly play on clarinet dixieland, and this also became my passion - Sidney Bechet, Acker Bilk and Mezz Mezzrow.
Returning from the army, I firmly decided to work on the style of McCoy Tyner, which then opened me the way to performances in various jazz festivals (inside the USSR).
McCoy became my first true passion; and the next in line was Keith Jarrett, who performed in Russia in 1967 as part of Charles Lloyd quartet .I listened to him more than to other pianists for 20 years.
In the 1970s I started playing electric piano in the first Israeli fusion band; and this required the work with the records of other pianists: Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock. As part of this group, I performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1974 ; besides played the second piano with a big blues singer and pianist Memphis Slim, that turned out to be the best blues performance school for me , which you can imagine .
However, the acoustic piano remained my main love. I discovered for myself Kenny Barron, whose style suddenly looked very similar to mine (maybe he heard the same music?) I even played a whole concert in a duet with Buster Williams .
In the 90's I concentrated on the music of T. Monk; and my musical baggage allowed to identify Monk as the most outstanding jazz pianist.

That's such a jazz hodgepodge what influenced me !

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#2630416 - 04/05/17 01:16 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Simon_b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 83
Loc: Kent, UK
Thanks Nahum, that's a really interesting musical history you have. Its always nice to know a bit more about people, other than just reading their posts. How did I miss Monk!! He definitely inspired me and occasionally left me baffled. Memphis Slim was great wasn't he. Somewhere I have some film of him on DVD. My playing style is much closer to him than Monk.

Jon - yes I love Randy Newman as well, though for me not a huge influence on my playing, perhaps because his music is great in so many other ways.

Cheers

Simon
_________________________
Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio WK-7600
Hammond XB1
It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play, and sometimes I still play it.

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#2630646 - 04/06/17 10:25 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
jjo Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 901
Loc: Chicago
Phase I: I was a kid studying classical piano, but listening to the pop music of the day. One day I was in a bookstore and I saw a book that had the sheet music for Elton John's first album (Your Song, etc) and I thought: "You mean I might be able to play the pop stuff I enjoy listening to?" So I bought it and now have an entire bookshelf full of sheet music, with everything from the Beatles, to Yes to George Gershwin.

Phase II: I'm in college, still studying classical piano and playing pop music on the side and some friends start turning me onto jazz. I listen to some of this and some of that, and then fall in love with Bill Evans. I buy some transcriptions and simply can't absorb how someone can improvise the stuff he improvised. Fast forward about 30 years and I decided to study and play jazz. Found a great teacher and have never looked back.

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#2630682 - 04/06/17 12:19 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
tend to rush Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 167
I see that in my previous post I left out Fats Waller. Fats' artistic reputation may have suffered among some as he was so well known as an "entertainer". He was, however, hugely influential - on Basie, Tatum(!) and many others. Strongly recommend a double-CD of his solo performances, called "Turn on the Heat".

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#2630861 - 04/07/17 12:51 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: tend to rush]
Nahum Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/27/14
Posts: 1907
Loc: Israel
Originally Posted By tend to rush
I see that in my previous post I left out Fats Waller. .

Likewise! I worked very hard on my own transcriptions "Handful of Keys" by Waller , "Fingerbuster" of Jelly Roll Morton , as well as several solo pieces of Duke . The stride piano genre is an important necessary part of musical baggage for any jazz pianist.

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#2630902 - 04/07/17 06:58 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 472
When I was about ten there was a school concert where an even younger kid played some mean boogie-woogie, I was awestruck and wanted to do what he was doing. I think that was the impetus and THEN all the Kieth Jarrets and Herbie Hancocks eventually took over. But I still think about that kid sometimes, I wish I could experience what he played again through the mind of my 10 year old self with untrained ears..

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#2635375 - 04/22/17 01:19 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Cade Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/11/15
Posts: 10
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
If we're playing this game, the pianist that first really inspired me was Thomas Waller (I read he never really did like to be called Fats). I hit college in the '90s and took a jazz history course, and Waller was the first standout to me, my case study, and then the swing revival scene was hitting right at that time, so it all came together.

Stride is still often one of the first impulses my left hand has whatever I'm playing, or its feel even when I'm not doing literal stride, and my right hand still likes classical flourishes and runs. And something about a strong melody sensibility, even if you're throwing out note clouds. That and his sheer joy in playing. Those are probably the ideas that captured me so much.

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#2635379 - 04/22/17 01:27 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Simon_b Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 83
Loc: Kent, UK
Hi

Revisiting the post again a couple more that I love have been mentioned - Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington. I've spent quite a lot of time playing JRM over the years and I think Duke is vastly underrated as a Piano player.

Have a listen to Duke, Mingus and Max Roach on the trio album "Money Jungle" which has one of the best versions of Caravan on it I've ever heard.

Cheers
_________________________
Simon
Yamaha CLP535
Casio WK-7600
Hammond XB1
It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play, and sometimes I still play it.

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#2635390 - 04/22/17 01:54 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Albunea Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/20/15
Posts: 1278
Loc: Spain
Ok, this is not in line with the thread, because he is not famous, but I have to say that he inspires me because it's true, with this song, for example smile YouTube How Does A Moment Last Forever

And he is on this thread! yippie smile

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#2635480 - 04/22/17 06:28 PM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Finfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/15
Posts: 204
Loc: Arizona USA
I have taken a liking to the old timers. Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins and Champion Joe Dupree come to mind quickly. Although I do like a lot of the current/recent artists mentioned by the original poster.
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#2635803 - Today at 04:13 AM Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b]
Beemer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/13
Posts: 1226
Loc: Scotland
Teddy Wilson

Ian
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I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A

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