Pianist – White Tower Restaurant, Blackpool

The White Tower Restaurant, Blackpool

This stylish Art Deco building is home to a very unusual C. Bechstein model B grand piano.

The piano’s original wooden lid was replaced in the 50’s with a cut glass lid, illuminating the inner works of the piano but creating a muffled tone. Combined with the quirky and ever so slightly ‘clicky’ keys in their various shades of ivory, this piano has a very unique sound quality.

I’ve enjoyed many evenings as pianist for general public diners, private parties, functions and weddings guests over the years, plus I’ve met lots of celebrities too!

If you’re looking for an exclusive and unique dining experience in one of the leading restaurants in Blackpool, you need to visit the White Tower Restaurant!

New Orleans Piano

New Orleans Piano

New Orleans Piano
Here’s an aerial view of me playing the Professor Longhair classic ‘Big Chief’.

I love the syncopation of New Orleans music and in a solo piano setting where you can really hear the contrasting rhythms you can’t help but tap your foot!
This tune contains a classic left hand pattern that runs down a minor 7 arpeggio so in this example (in the key of C) the left hand plays C – Bb – G – Eb – C

Professor Longhair’s piano style is so distinct and influential, some say it’s partly because he taught himself how to play on a piano with missing keys, I’m just thankful for his legacy of music.

 

 

Looking the part

Looking the part

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve always felt a little exposed sat playing a keyboard as opposed to a real piano. There’s nothing to hide behind, you’re sat behind a keyboard stand that for all intents and purposes closely resembles an ironing board with it’s unfolded x-frame.
Well this month since I’ve been playing a Sunday afternoon gig at The Imperial Hotel in Blackpool, I’ve decided that enough is enough, I need something to hide my legs behind!

The result is a little carpentry project using a single sheet of 8ft x 4ft hardboard, 6 brass hinges and some black wood stain.

Click on the gallery below for pictures or better still why not pop down to the Imperial one Sunday lunch and have a listen too!

 

The best part is that once the ‘lid’ slides out of the top the frame can then be folded in on itself for easy storage.

 

 

Country Piano Riff

Country Piano Riff

Here’s a little tip for creating a ‘country’ piano sound using what I like to call a ‘crushed 2nd’.
If you are playing a chord of G major (G B D) then you’d use the 2nd degree of the scale (A) to crush into the 3rd (B) as per this youtube clip I’ve uploaded.

You can use this technique to create more movement with your chords and also when combined with other chords in a sequence it creates a very simple, yet effective riff.
In the video example above I used the chorus from “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby – G F C