Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Shortage of Acoustic Pianos in NYC Jazz Performance Spaces


Legatoboy

Recommended Posts

Last week I was listening to WKCR FM (Columbia Univ. radio) here in NYC to the Musicians show (Wed. nights). The show's guest host was saying how in Manhatten there is a real shortage of acoustic pianos in most performance spaces that host Jazz oriented music. Almost none in fact. Not to say that the 'Jazz Standard Club' doesn't have a piano, it does, a Steinway, I played it for a wedding gig 2 years ago. I'm sure a few other bigger Jazz rooms do also. But his point was most spaces do not!

 

Thats really a sin! The guy (sorry forgot his name) was a sax player who graciously made the comment, going to bat for piano players in his groups and in general, being at a real disadvantage not being able to play their real axes in arguably the capital of the Jazz world.

Remember, he was talking about Jazz oriented performance spaces and venues.

 

What effect does that have on the art of jazz piano playing and the Jazz culture in general (over time)?

 

How can we, as musicians and fellow musicians in NYC and other major cities in the world effect a change to this trend. Is it possible? Espically in this, break you back, digital piano, culture starved, club owner driven, bottom line tabulated world.

 

lb :wave:

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I read an article more about how pianists have to adapt to different pianos every night, instead of having the luxury of one's own personal instrument every night. I see the point of it, but it's also the pianist's matter to deal with it and make music out of any instrument we're presented with.

 

I don't know how true it is that "most" places in NYC don't have pianos... all the big clubs (Blue Note, Vanguard, Jazz Standard, Iridium, Dizzy's) do, as do smaller places like Tonic, Smoke, The Stone, Jazz Gallery, the Kitano and even a restaurant like Cleopatra's Needle.

 

The places I know of that DON'T have pianos: 55 Bar and Bowery Poetry Club (which is a poetry club, damn it - I'd like it if they had a piano but it's certainly not necessary).

 

David

My Site

Nord Electro 5D, Novation Launchkey 61, Logic Pro X, Mainstage 3, lots of plugins, fingers, pencil, paper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

 

Definately pianist have to adapt to new pianos on a per gig basis, thats part of the job without a doubt. That had been mentioned many times to me when studying. The guy on KCRs drift was in terms of acoustic instruments in general in the spaces I think.

 

You sound like you get around the city much much more than I do and are an active working jazz pianist. I'm a blues pianist for my gigging right now and mostly use a digital though I do play and an occasional cocktail hour gig and ply my jazz chops(the ones I have).

 

Maybe the guy on WKCR ment the performance spaces only and not the clubs....

 

In the words of Gilda Radner... NEVER MIND!

 

I guess you can't always believe what you read OR hear on the radio!

 

lb :wave:

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, LB! I'm not an active jazz pianist around NYC - I'm there fairly frequently for a composition workshop, and attend gigs while I'm there. I also have many friends who are quite active in the NYC scene.

 

David

My Site

Nord Electro 5D, Novation Launchkey 61, Logic Pro X, Mainstage 3, lots of plugins, fingers, pencil, paper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

B3-er,

 

Yep....Yep!!!

 

There was a club here in Long Island, NY that up until 2 years ago had an A100 and a 147. BackStreet Blues in Rockville Centre. It was in pretty shotty condition 6 years ago when I first played it. Reverb long gone, the caps were worn out, sounded very dark. Action was bad, drawbars mostly worked. They went through two 147 interface boxes in the organ until the last one went from people kicking the Leslie cable I guess. No respect for the Organ. Eventually someone soldered directly into the Green terminal output on the A-O28 and went 1/4" into an old 147 combo-preamp. Then after all that the rubber tire went on the lower rotor. Nobody bothered to fixed it. I doubt many of the keyboard players that used it would know how to fix or adjust the tire on the slow motor. Alot of players didn't even use the organ. I would wedge small folded pieces of cardboard in between the slow and fast motors to get the lower rotor to work if it wasn't rotating for a quick fix I'm ashamed to admit. I felt guilty, I knew I was just making it worse. I Should have just tried to adjust the Leslie with a small wrench. But I had the lower rotor rotating for the night with a couple of in set adjustments periodically. I used to place a Alesis Nanoverb in between the organ and the preamp thru the mono input when the 147 interfaces went. I hate a totally dry organ.

 

But it was a Hammond and a Leslie. You had to love it! I made it work!

 

Yep, B3's too, much more so I would say than acoustic pianos, used to be a B3/Leslie in quit a few ginmills and strip joint as I understand. I remember being a young player and finding them in clubs in the 70's. Espically in around NYC and Newark. Newwark is where it all started with the Organ Sax thing as I'm sure you know. A club I used to play as a kid had a B3/147 and I would dream about my gigs there. I had at the time a M3/145. The B3 was the Caddy daddy of all organs.

 

I have a 64' B3 now with a 122RV just for home recording/playing. The RV amp is shot and I installed a TREK II reverb in the organ myself and had Goeff re-cap and overhaul the 122 amp. The rest of stuff if it's not too electrical I can do as far as general maintenance.

 

The Grease!

 

I can imagine the tassels twirlin' and flying along with the rotors in those old strip joints!

Truly the good ol' days with those heavy red curtians!

 

Dug your recordings!

 

lb :cool:

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that Medeski Martin & Wood started as a piano trio but the lack of real pianos made them turn to the electric keyboards - the rest is history! Without being rude or pretencious :D , me too, i had problems to find good pianos around my town's clubs. There are few and very bad ones, out of tune most of the times. So i turned to the electric keyboads too, and now i'm very happy to have my "real" instruments when i play and not worry about tunings and bad keybeds etc. IMO a bad mantained piano is much much worst than a "cheap" hammond clone or a not-so-good rhodes emulation...
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yannis,

 

I like the music, I was in a band lead by a classical clarinetist who had an EMI classical recording contract here in NY many years ago. He was from Macedonia but had a Jazz Fusion band project on the side. His music was similiar to your music in someways. They were also into Weather Report as I recall. He wanted alot of synth lead and minimoog sounds and lines.

 

All Good musicians, alot of difficult charts and no blue notes allowed.

lb :)

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Organs in clubs or festival in good condition are getting harder and harder to find. I played three festivals this year that provided the organ, in major cities, and each organ had serious problems. The best was in Chicago where the middle F, G, and Bb pedals did not work (those are kind of important for kicking bass).

 

Of course in festival situations there is no time to test the rig out before-hand or fix anything. The last act goes off, you go on within 20 minutes and they have to set up the rig, etc. That was a total drag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thnx for your encouraging words Legato boy. It's strange that the clarinetist did'nt want blue notes in the band sound - balkan music is full of them and all kind of non written ornaments as well. If you like this genre listen to groups like "Laco Tayfa" (turkish anatolian fusion funk, very groovy), "Babazula" (turkish sound with dub, very strange compination), "Farmer's Market" (balkan-scandinavian project with superb bass-drums-clarinet), "Trio Pachora" from NY or another good greek group called "Mode Plagal" (funk/rock with a balkan flavor). They're all in Myspace

Regards

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

B3-er,

 

I tried to get a B3 for the stage 2 years ago at the Riverhead Blues Festival here on LI, NY.

The band I'm in really built that festival as far a local fan base draw and has headlined for 8 years running. I thought I might have some pull.

 

The festival promoters that year told me to call the local music store for the organ, as Guitar Center supplied the back line gear only and of course didn't have a B3/Leslie. At that point I knew it was almost hopeless as the local music store in Riverhead (the boonies) was a small Mom/Pop type store. I will try again this year.

 

If an out of state headliner comes in with a B3 requirement then they'd get one, thats the only way I can think of getting a B3/Leslie up there.

 

We (my band) are alittle pissed as the $ we get for the show has typically been aprox. half of that the out of state headliners receive, yet we pull in more people many years than the headlines. Last years headliners were Mose Allison and Dave Maxwell riding on the New Orleans piano vibe with Katrina. Other headlines have been Savoy Brown and Rod Piazza.

If Bo Diddly played they would probably get a B3 by band contract for the woman who plays for him! We opened for him once and she had one at that show. She a very good organ player btw but she's not pushing pedals.

 

Looks like I'll be hauling my 145 again up on stage this year and XK-3.

 

lb

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yannis-D,

 

Thank you for the musical tips. To be honest, your type of music being a New York boy was a real adventure for me to get involved with (13 years ago), beside it being so unique to me, the musicians involved in the project were really more advanced than I was at the time and I learned alot. I actually couldn't cut it back then (the charts). The drummer had studied a Mannes Music Collage in Manhatten and the band's leader clarinitist had that Classical recording contract and studied at a conservatory in Europe and in the States somewhere.

 

What I did notice is that the accents in that music were very important and very different than western European music and Jazz's inflected/swing feels or straight eights, yet, it did become fusion/jazz somehow. Interesting approach. Your points about the ornimentation etc. reminided me of the remark Mariano made about learning and playing Bartok verses more western Europen forms of music (In Italy). Bet Joe Zawinul is hip to alot of your music & fusion & world approaches espically growing up in the Balkins!

 

The none blue notes I referred to in my old project were a consideration for soloing only in a 'jazz' sense. They didn't want a obvious blues pentatonic scale stated and just hanging out there.

 

lb

 CP-50, YC 73,  FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, Kurzweil SP6, XK-3, CX-3, Hammond XK-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Legatoboy

to say the truth allthogh i'm very far from NY i feel nearer jazz, blues and funk than balkan music - call it musical imperialism in a good sense or whatever else you like to call it, but i had a hard time myself to get to know the balkan idioms...I got to them only after i listened to some traditional aged musicians form northern parts of Greece, near the Balkan countries and the music traditions there. Then, i realized that your music is your childhood - and my childhood was full of "western" music (propalby like yours): from The Doors to Deep Purple, lots of jazz, funky black music, reggae, some latin and (that's for me only) some traditional greek stuff. So, i consider myself a "tourist" to the balkan idiom like you propably do :)

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...