|71 year old Indian Jazz Pianist
||[Aug. 12th, 2009|09:25 pm]
Yes, I know - the title of this post sounds like the set-up to a bad joke, but in this case, it's straight on the money.|
In 1984 I was a 16 year-old kid and had a part time job working at a long-gone music store called Palings on Pitt Street. This was back in the days before Pitt Street even had a mall. Christ I'm old.
I worked in the rock section, selling guitars, amps and synths. The brass and woodwind section was managed by a guy called Andrew Speight who must have been in his early twenties at the time and has long since moved to the States and earned a reputation as a seriously good saxophonist.
One afternoon in late 84 as we were closing up, Andrew asked if I wanted to go for a beer at a place close by called Centrepoint Tavern. I told him I was underage and he said, "No problem, the bar staff are all friends of mine, I'll take care of it".
So we closed our sections, left work and wandered a hundred metres up the road and walked into the place.
He introduced me to the resident pianist/vocalist. To be specific, I was introduced to "Cec Dorsey". My first thoughts were "'Cec Dorsey'? Bullshit - that's a stage-name if I've ever heard one", simply because the guy loooked like he'd crawled out of the Ganges after a hard day sacrificing Tree-Frogs to Krishna or whatever the hell it is that hard-core Indian guys do.
Within five minutes of that meeting, I no longer gave a damn what he called himself.
Cec played jazz piano, and Cec played beautifully. I'd never heard jazz played live before and Andrew and I stayed there listening to the guy until closing time. From that day onwards I was a jazz fan and if you know me, you'll know that I still am.
Cec and I got on very well. I loved (but couldn't play) his jazz work, and he loved (but couldn't play) the Jimi Hendrix material I was immersed in at the time. We spent a lot of time together and of course I learned far more from him than he ever learned from me.
We lost touch for about ten years, but I'm happy to say that in the last few months we've started hanging out again.
He's an old man now and doesn't get out that much anymore, but still he managed to make the journey over to my place about a month back to catch up, do a little cooking and spend the afternoon playing some music.
I beefed up my home studio last November when I turned 40. I now have a 200 track digital studio in my study and on the day Cec turned up I realised I had someone with some real talent within range of my microphone.
I always liked Cec's version of "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole, so I asked if he'd play it for me.
He nailed it on the first take like a true pro,
And for those of you who are even remotely curious, here it is (click on the "free-user" option to download it):
He's 71 now, so of course his voice is a little frail, but sweet Jesus, he still sounds wonderful.
And you know what? After all these years I've still never asked him what his "real" name is. When you can play like this, you can call yourself whatever you damn well want.
I love this man to death.