Cocktail Piano

Here are a series of old recordings I found from the mid eighties when I played seven nights a week at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga, NY (Maybe 1984).  During the horse racing season the place would be packed with race enthusiasts and visitors to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

These recordings were most likely made in the winter months because during the summer I was usually accompanied by a violin player named Gene Usher.  Also, the piano was positioned with my back to a window where there was a heat register beneath me.  There was a constant flow of both hot and cold air and it was impossible to maintain tuning on this studio upright piano which I beleive was a Steinway.  

These recordings were of my standard cocktail-background music-hint of jazz style.  I would sit and play a medley of five or six songs pausing only for requests or to acknowledge polite applause.  Since SPAC was in the back yard of the hotel, I would see many famous people filter in for a drink or dinner.  I once walked out for a break when the two bearded guys from ZZ Top walked in.  They split and I walked right inbetween them.  

My most memorable night was when members of the NYC Ballet came in so I played lite works from Schumann, Schubert, Chopin and Beethoven.  A few of the dancers did barre at the bar.

Waltz in F, Who Can I Turn To

Always, It May Be

My Favorite Things

September Song, I’m In the Mood For Love, Stella By Starlight


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