Stairway to Heaven
This piece, thanks to a friend's request, has turned into a beautiful work of almost classical proportions. It's my personal 'Bolero'!
Ripple is not about the infamous beverage, but about finding your own path, making your own way in the world. Even without the words, the music reflects the meaning and joy of the song, the freedom.
This was the first Grateful Dead song I worked on, at the request of my husband, John. The music speaks for itself, and seems to be enjoyed by all ages, whether or not they are aware they are listening to 'rock' music.
Lay, Lady, Lay
This is a beautiful love song by Bob Dylan. Even though the words are such an important part of his songs, this piece works with the music alone – the true meaning comes across without the words.
Going To California
This was wonderfully intricate to work out, to give the impression and effect of the mandolin part, while still bringing about the expressiveness of the melody! The challenge for me was to maintain a sense of flow – hope you like it.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
This has been a great song to play over the years with my flute/guitar duo. Now I’m translating it to piano, but it’s reflective of my interpretation of the song with my flute.
New York City Serenade
I had a request for Bruce Springsteen that led me to this wonderful piece of music. It has great scope, and is very expressive even without the words.
Takes My Breath Away
This song is performed by two of my favorite performers, Tuck & Patti, who are consummate, amazing musicians. I listen to Patti for her interpretation and communication of the songs. Tuck's solo and accompanying work is truly inspiring. At one performance, Tuck stated that he listened to piano players in developing his guitar style. This seems to come full circle, because I listen intensely to his style and musicianship in developing my own piano style.
I can’t imagine doing an album without including music by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, and this isn’t just because my husband John is a quintessential ‘Dead Head!’ Rather, it is because there is some beautiful music out there that deserves to be heard in a variety of settings. In deciding on which songs to play for this album, Black Peter stood out – perhaps because of its ‘bluesy’ quality, fitting with the rest of the album. Of course, the ending goes beyond the realm of blues, into the Grateful Dead’s statement of full sound that anyone who’s ever been to one of their concerts can relate to.
Mountains of the Moon
Hearing Tom Constanten's performance in concert inspired my arrangement of this piece. It has become one of my favorite Grateful Dead pieces to perform (of which I have several!).
I love playing the music of Pink Floyd on the piano – the expansiveness of the music is almost orchestral in quality. I add my own improvisation to this opening piece of the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.
This is an absolutely beautiful ballad written by the legendary jazz pianist Marian McPartland and Loonis McGlohon.
A Morricone Moment
This song developed while thinking of the beautiful music in the Clint Eastwood westerns written by Ennio Morricone. There was always a wonderful melody, setting the mood for various scenes.
One Winter's Night
I have taken this song completely out of its element. Written by premier string musicians, on an album (Strength in Numbers) with both ensemble and solo performances relating to each of their individual instruments, it comes together as a beautiful piano piece.
I never thought it would be possible to do a Neville Brothers song on solo piano, because of all the separate elements - keyboard, sax, congos, and of course Aaron Neville's voice! But as a big fan of the group, and after attending a number of live concerts, I felt I had to give it a try. It's certainly not the original, but it works in its own way.
She's No Lady
The punch line to “she’s no lady” is “she’s my wife”. This is a humorous Western swing song, fun to play, and brings back wonderful memories of Lyle Lovett in concert. One such concert in Philadelphia took place in a deluge of rain. The water poured through the stage’s roof like various waterfalls. Those of us in the audience (sitting under tarps and ponchos) were treated to a full acoustic concert by Lyle and several members of his band. Then he brought out his ‘Large Band’ anyway, despite the dangers of a wet stage with electrical equipment, and did another full concert, during which the piano player kept wiping dry the keys of the grand piano, and one of the singers kept turning around to also wipe off the piano. I never heard if the piano survived the torrential rain, but we were treated to an amazing show – two concerts in one!
Love Gets in the Way
I was drawn to this song the first time I heard it. It's very special to hear Dayna Kurtz sing it, but the music also stands on its own, without the words - just a great song!
Gonzo's Blue Dream
James Booker was a wonderful New Orleans piano player. This particular piece can be found on a recording of his solo piano playing one night in a New Orleans bar. He would just sit and improvise with amazing technique and musical ideas. I don’t play this song in the style of James Booker (is that even possible?) but it speaks to me in a fundamental way, and I hope to get that across to my audience.
Flute Blues (Or If Only I Was a Harmonica Player)
I enjoy taking music intended for other instruments and translating it to the piano. Now I've even done this with my own music, having written this song for flute and guitar. Some years ago, I was able to sit in with a local blues band with my flute. This title is self-explanatory of my thoughts at the time.
Willie Fugal's Blues
Listening to Dr. John at numerous concerts led me to the music of Henry Roeland Byrd (Professor Longhair). I can’t imagine New Orleans piano music without him. He was a major influence on the style and spirit of the music.
Imagine a year of stress and work set aside for a long weekend of camping at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. All the business of setting up camp is over, and it’s time to stroll around the concert grounds, hearing the start of music from various stages – some acoustic, some Irish, perhaps some Cajun. It’s the peacefulness and calm of knowing you’ve finally arrived at what will be a wonderful musical experience.
A fan first requested that I play this song. It is very melancholy and beautiful, and was very intricate to work out. I love it!
This is a great Led Zeppelin ballad that has become one of my favorites to play. Thanks, Michael, for a great suggestion!
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
Bob Dylan is one of the foremost songwriters and lyricists of our times. This is simply a great piece, fun to play, the music perfectly portraying the lyrics of the song.
Hop Skip Blues
This is a creation that is kind of ‘blues meets Chopin’. There is a Chopin ballade that I perform, that at one point has a jumping right hand pattern, and it seems to have jumped its way into a blues piece. The title is self-explanatory.