Soup to Nuts

I’ve had a garden variety of pianistic experiences this week:

On Monday, I played for a variety show at a local retirement home. The folks there truly connect emotionally with the material, and some of them sing quite well. There’s a resident who sang the daylights out of “I Have Dreamed”.  The big closing number was a crowd-pleasing medley of “Mame” and “One”,

On Tuesday I played for a Jazz Institute of Chicago benefit. It was a rhythm section and TEN trumpets! Jon Faddis was the straw boss. Other notables were the fabulous Tito Carrillo and Art Hoyle. Art is a piece of history: the guy was in bands led by Billy Eckstein, Lionel Hampton and Sun Ra, for God’s sake!

Wednesday afternoon took me to my theater gig as the pianist/conductor for “Hot Mikado”. The band is good and we can play hard. As the band is visible, I wear tails with a big “M” embroidered on the jacket. Classy. I also get shot at several times each show and have to dive off of the piano bench. I’m a latent thespian.

Wednesday night was my ongoing gig with vocalist Paul Marinaro and bassist Joe Policastro at 3160 N. Clark. Located on the edge of Boys Town, the room is owned by the man who owns a very successful female impersonator club in another part of town. The bar’s regulars are all over the map in terms of sexual orientation, and the barkeep is a tough-as-nails middle-aged lesbian right out of Central Casting. On my last break I found myself seated between two patrons who were having a very nasty exchange. It seems that the guy had been in the ladies room and didn’t lock the door. The woman had walked in on said guy and verbal bitch-slapping ensued.

Show biz, baby!