November 25th, 2008


See me play a $121,000 piano

I couldn't resist this opportunity!
So, what did I play on this Yamaha CFIIIS 9-foot concert grand piano? Why, only a tune that truly deserved to be played on such a fine instrument.

More silliness ensued Sunday night after the West Coast Ragtime Festival. A bunch of us were goofing around. I'm going through the video I shot and it's pretty amazing. Some of the best pianists in the world sitting around two pianos, with other pianists playing percussion bits, kazoos, and me recording video while at the same time playing kazoo and stick-castanets (camera in one hand; kazoo in mouth; stick-castanets in the other hand). Fun stuff. Someone else also shot a fair bit of video from that session when I was playing a tambourine with a stick.

Got to meet east-coasters Max Keenlyside and Martin Spitznagel, who had made their first trip west. Max had a high-quality digital audio recorder, and recorded Tom Brier playing one of my compositions during which I began playing Andrew Barrett's washboard (I'd never even touched a washboard before). Martin also has an interest in Raymond Scott music, which was cool to discover. He made up a "ridiculous" (his word as he was playing it) medley of the Super Mario theme, Harry Potter theme, and various tunes from Star Wars, all in ragtime/stride style. I captured that on video -- also some of when Martin and Frederick Hodges improvised a Fats Waller style version of the Sesame Street theme.

The Raspberry Jam Band played my transcription of K.K. Ragtime from Animal Crossing. They all love it. Apparently they've also begun playing the Yoshi's Island Athletic Theme, though they didn't play it this weekend.

I gave them some more videogame tunes that I made sheet music for, and something that I should have given them a long time ago -- the score for the Tiny Toon Adventures theme. They'd have fun playing that.

I had dinner Sunday night with most of the band, and they were pleasantly surprised to discover that I knew some Tom Lehrer songs off the top of my head, and other wacky tunes (they were discussing comedy Christmas songs, and I started singing I Found the Brains of Santa Claus, which they didn't know.