My songwriting is very influenced by the songwriters that all emerged in a similar era- Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, etc. My piano-style, therefore, has to corollate... As I took a break from trying to record a rough of a brand new song with a complicated stride pattern, I daydreamed about pianists whose piano talents I would love to have:
Harry Connick, Jr.
Many know him as a crooner or leading man, but his first claim was New Orleans piano style. The thing that amazes me about him is his casual touch of the keys, like he's so familiar with every sound of every note, he can play breathtaking piano in the same offhand manner in which we hum while we do the dishes. Check him out playing Sweet Georgia Brown. I love what he does around 1:40. Crazy.
His playing is soulful and rich- who needs a backup orchestra when you can play like that? I couldn't really find a song of his on YouTube that did his piano style justice but his Randy Newman Songbook V1 is all just his voice and the piano. I Think It's Going to Rain Today is heartbreaking in the best possible way.
Dave Brubeck: Under his amazing (and quite large) hands, the piano becomes something wild and unpredictable- it can be playful and flirtatious or heavy and percussive. I've attempted arrangements of his and I think I need to add a couple fingers.
Thelonious Monk: Monk is to piano what da Vinci is to art, what Pixar is to animation, what Bobby Flay is to grilling. This song is pure joy,