His body of work, genius and legacy speaks for itself.
I can only pass on one short exchange I had with him at a private party I was playing solo piano years ago. I had no idea he was in attendance and was just going through the motions of being basically 'wallpaper'.
I was playing "Emily" in sort of a Bill Evans style and midway through the tune I noticed someone was standing at my side. He stayed for the remainder and after I finished he gave me a resounding round of applause, the only one in the crowded noisy room....lol
I turned and said thank you and then recognized him. Our exchange went something like and I'm paraphrasing since it's been probably 25 years if not more -- he said, I like your style and your chords. Many people play my song in a style that I don't care for. What you played is my preferred way of hearing it. I said..wow thanks so much, I'm humbled beyond words. I do remember his exact words as he turned away -- keep up the good work and always strive for excellence.
Well the rest of the night and after, I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the month.
Many composers strive their whole life just to write one great tune. When you write that many, that have been covered by so many great Artists, in different styles, that will continue to stand the test of time, it's pretty damn amazing.
Dave, that’s a great story. I can only imagine how his comments elevated you off your seat for the rest of the night. Quite a testament to your work ethic: even as “wallpaper,” you were still swinging for the fences. At the risk of putting too fine a point, it speaks to your integrity: maintaining excellence even if no one else is watching (or listening, perhaps, in this case.)
Suicide is Painless and Emily are among my all-time favorites.
My favorite Mandel movie is one that has remained hidden under the radar since it debuted in 1980. Starring James Coburn and Bruce Boxleitner it was titled “The Baltimore Bullet”, and the score has remained one of my favorites since then. Mandel could indeed provide quality music in any genre with any orchestration.
1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP
Dave, that's an outstanding story! To have someone of that caliber recognize your merits is golden. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about music has been the opportunities to compliment and be complimented. Even a small nod to a promising novice or thumbs-up to a fatigued (semi-) pro can have a long reach. He was right about excellence, but its often a weaving target.
A young woman was about to do the opening song of her band's set and said she was really nervous. I said "Almost everyone is, but that's part of the energy you use to get rolling. Also, the crowd is already with you because you had the nerve to give it a shot in the first place, so add that to it. We both know you're good at this. Practicing how you handle that first moment is part of the tool kit." She gave me this blinking look for a moment, grinned & said "Thanks!" That was almost as gratifying as having people like my set later.
You always need backup power supplies, data drives and the like, but swapping out good karma is as vital as the oil reservoir in a B-3.
RIP Mr. Mandel and thanks for the wonderful songs.
Dave, thanks for sharing your awesome experience! Sounds like he was a nice, supportive person. How cool was it for him to hear you playing one of his songs? It was likely a wonderful experience for him as well.