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The Piano players that inspired me to play #2629060
04/01/17 01:21 PM
04/01/17 01:21 PM
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Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline OP
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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

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




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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2629064
04/01/17 01:47 PM
04/01/17 01:47 PM
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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.

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2629265
04/02/17 03:05 AM
04/02/17 03:05 AM
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Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline OP
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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

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2629290
04/02/17 04:44 AM
04/02/17 04:44 AM
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Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline OP
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Bill Evans

That's it!


Simon
Yamaha CLP535

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630200
04/04/17 06:44 PM
04/04/17 06:44 PM
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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
Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630220
04/04/17 08:48 PM
04/04/17 08:48 PM
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New York City
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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
Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630286
04/05/17 04:01 AM
04/05/17 04:01 AM
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Nahum Online content
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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 !

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630416
04/05/17 01:16 PM
04/05/17 01:16 PM
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Kent, UK
Simon_b Offline OP
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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

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630646
04/06/17 10:25 AM
04/06/17 10:25 AM
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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.

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630682
04/06/17 12:19 PM
04/06/17 12:19 PM
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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".

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: tend to rush] #2630861
04/07/17 12:51 AM
04/07/17 12:51 AM
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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.

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2630902
04/07/17 06:58 AM
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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..

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2635375
04/22/17 01:19 PM
04/22/17 01:19 PM
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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.

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

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2635390
04/22/17 01:54 PM
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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

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2635480
04/22/17 06:28 PM
04/22/17 06:28 PM
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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.


Kawai ES8
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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2635803
04/24/17 04:13 AM
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Teddy Wilson

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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2644194
05/16/17 08:33 PM
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For my inaugural post I am waking this sleeping thread. I have played guitar for 38 years, since I was nine. My favorite music is now and has always been Steely Dan, even though they are a little before my time.

The reason I decided to start playing the piano, four days ago, was because of Donald Fagen. He often speaks about his own jazz influences, but for me, it's him and his music. Once I get good enough, I am looking forward to playing some of his music. But first I need to learn to stand, and then walk. So that won't be for a while.

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2644393
05/17/17 01:16 PM
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Hi Deacon

Welcome to the forum. Donald Fagen is a very good Piano player. I didn't list him, as I really didn't discover Steely Dan until later in life, but I'm a huge fan of their recordings. Indeed I used to play in a band that did "Josie" and "Black Friday".

You'll get a lot of good advice on Jazz based Piano playing from the people on the non-classical section; some of whom are seriously talented musicians. We always try to be polite, though occasionally we do bicker!

The only 2 bits of advice I would give you is to try and find a good teacher, so that you get the fundamentals right from the start, and make sure you listen to lots of professional Jazz Piano players. Don't be disheartened by their skill level; just listening will help you get a feel for the music.

Cheers

Simon


Simon
Yamaha CLP535

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2644398
05/17/17 01:40 PM
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There is a great video on YouTube with Fagen explaining a couple of his compositions. If you watch closely you can see his actual voicings for the chords.

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2644406
05/17/17 02:03 PM
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Hi

You can get the whole thing on a DVD called "Donald Fagen: Concepts For Jazz/Rock Piano".
I got a copy a few years ago.

Its still available

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/ft7/Dona...983&sr=1-3&keywords=donald+fagen


Cheers


Simon
Yamaha CLP535

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Jon Pumper] #2733320
05/01/18 01:47 PM
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I like Newman too. Any idea where to find some sheet music of his? Especially looking for ‘Yellow Man’

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2733913
05/03/18 05:05 PM
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Man.....too many to really do justice to a list. Notables that kind of stand out:

Aretha Franklin
Ray Charles
Keith Jarrett
Chick Korea
Joe Sample
Herbie Hancock
Ramsey Lewis
Bruce Hornsby
Russell Ferrante
George Duke
Keiko Matsui
Yuja Wang !!!!

thumb

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2734026
05/04/18 08:09 AM
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I have been influenced by many great players since I started playing at age seven. Even though I had classical training for almost twenty years, my main interest was jazz and blues, and I was influenced by the whole history of African American jazz piano, from ragtime to free improv. Some favourites (in random order) are Jelly Roll Morton, James P Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Mary Lou Williams, Mildred Falls, Art Tatum, Otis Spann, Cecil Taylor, James Booker, Dr John, Bobby Few, McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson, Ray Bryant, Gene Harris....the list goes on and on... and here I am with one other favourite:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN_vaugcUAY

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2734147
05/04/18 05:37 PM
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Hi DrBekken

What a fantastic piece of footage.
Allen Toussaint was a fantastic ambassador for the city of New Orleans.
Amongst his many talents (songwriter, producer, arranger) he was also a terrific Piano player as well.

Rightly, you should be very proud to have jammed with the great man.

Thanks for sharing.


Simon
Yamaha CLP535

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




Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2734162
05/04/18 06:19 PM
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One that was big for me who hasn't been mentioned is Esbjoern Svensson. Michel Petrucciani. Keith Jarrett is like cocaine and he was my first drug back when I had no idea how anything like that was done. Bill Evans has been huge for me. Dave Frank was even more important for me. I was looking for a way out of some kind of oppression from pop and rock music and also classical, and also aspects of being American.

Last edited by charleslang; 05/04/18 06:23 PM.

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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2734247
05/05/18 08:14 AM
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The first recording I heard that really made me want to play piano was Vince Guaraldi’s “Cast Your Fate to the Wind”, which made it to the top of Top 40 charts around 1963.

So it took 47 years for the eventual delayed reaction...


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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Tor E Bekken] #2735201
05/08/18 09:52 PM
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Oh my oh my! That was fantastic DrBekken! Got to go dig out my old cassettes of Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and Professor Longhair now....


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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Qwerty53] #2735388
05/09/18 06:31 PM
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It was a great night out, for sure!

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2738317
05/20/18 10:27 PM
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My buddy William on a local level. Bruce Hornsby is a favorite.


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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2739549
05/25/18 11:16 PM
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Mine is a relatively short list. The player that actually made me want to start playing was Kyle Landry. After I had been playing for a while, Josh Wright, Vladimir Horowitz and Lang Lang were the ones who inspired me to take the instrument seriously. I don't really have any strictly jazz influences.


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Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2739560
05/26/18 12:26 AM
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This is a great thread. One of my earliest influences was Alexis Weisenberg. He made an intense music video in B+W of him playing Petrouchka. Manly concentration and power together with music and the PIANO, I want to do THAT) I met him late in his life, he was very nice and he expressed a deep interest in improvisation..

Dave Frank

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2739673
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I started on electronic organ at age 8 with zero influences (I mean, I was 8) but for non-classical now it's probably small bits of Chick Corea (the Time Warp album specifically), a lot of George Duke's playing with Frank Zappa, Tommy Mars who also played with Zappa, and Zappa himself... I'm struggling with any other major influences - they all came along in the fertile 16-21 year old stage, and there are still things I play today that sound like certain things from Time Warp. And Duke, Mars and Zappa all destroyed any chance I had of playing straightforward jazz, with my extensions waving in the moonlight. smile

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2743501
06/10/18 06:29 PM
06/10/18 06:29 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 104
plano,tx
G
gwood Offline
Full Member
gwood  Offline
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G
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 104
plano,tx
My sister inspired me to play although she probably does not realize it. she is 5 - 6 years older than me and when i was growing up, she took piano lessons and her playing and having a piano available got me interested in playing. now, she was not very advanced but i remember her playing from the John Thompson level 2 and 3 books. i still have those books and play from them occasionally. she did sort of help me get started. i knew from the beginning i needed to learn to read music. i started band in the 7th grade; i did take about 6 months of piano lessons when i was a jr in high school. then mainly focused on guitar until about 20 years ago when i bought my first piano. took several years of lessons but now just play on my own. i've got some mental block against taking lessons. it takes all the fun out of it (it's me, not the teacher).

now, for the artists that keep me inspired, that would be Vince Guaraldi i, George Winston, and similarly jazz persons. really, i get inspired by just about any competent player regardless of style of music.

gw

Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2745138
06/17/18 04:58 PM
06/17/18 04:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 648
Wisconsin, USA
L
Lakeviewsteve Offline
500 Post Club Member
Lakeviewsteve  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 648
Wisconsin, USA
When I was growing up my best friend's mother played Chopin beautifully. I think she was a real inspiration to me. In college my instructor took me to hear Bella Davidovich. To this day she is my all time favorite. She is in her 80's now. I'm so glad to have heard her four times.

Steve


Bösendorfer 170
Re: The Piano players that inspired me to play [Re: Simon_b] #2751297
07/13/18 06:48 PM
07/13/18 06:48 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 23
Colorado
Brundle-Fly Offline
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Brundle-Fly  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 23
Colorado
My main influences/inspirations have already been added, namely Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Donald Fagen, Randy Newman and Herbie Hancock... but I'll add Randy Weston, Thelonius Monk, Lyle Mays, Russell Ferrante, Joe Zawinul, Joe Sample, Dave Grusin... yes, this could go on forever as someone said.

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