Last night, I attended a preview performance of my friend Steve Gray’s show. Mostly a Neil Diamond tribute, but he does other songs too – as I well know because I am on most (if not all) of his backup tracks for the show. Steve can do a wicked Neil Diamond and he has been working on this project for quite awhile. He is planning on doing the full show in the LA area, and possibly a full version up here in the San Jose area. The preview (which went well and was well-received by an appreciative audience) was held at a small venue in Morgan Hill – 88 Keys (at the corner of East Dunne and Murphy).
I had only recently heard about 88 Keys from one of Steve’s other backup singers – Ingrid (who has a rock band and will be performing solo at 88 Keys on July 18 at 7:30 p.m.).
It’s not a piano bar in the sense Vahl’s (see my previous post) is, but it does have an incredible in house pianist – Mark Gaetano (well known in this area as part of the Gaslighters show).
Holy shit, y’all. This man can play piano.
After Steve’s show, Mark’s wife and business partner, Susan asked me if I would sing a song (another backup singer, Brenda, had been talking me up – she’s such a sweetie). I didn’t have any music with me, so I asked what songs did Mark play – and she said, “Pretty much anything jazz.” She did not lie. I suggested Honeysuckle Rose.
Let me tell you, Mark played the shit out of Honeysuckle Rose. And it was so much fun for me, because his take on the song (fast and raggy) is way different than how I usually do it (slow and bluesy) – my brain went into overdrive trying to keep up and it was a blast.
Then Brenda got up and did Blues in the Night – except she couldn’t remember all of the words, and neither could anyone else. Again, however, Mark played the shit out of the song.
Then Steve suggested Brenda sing Cry Me a River – a song I do as well, so I was able to help her with the words on that one, and we ended up singing it together. Mark’s syncopated playing was a dream.
I might have to investigate doing some singing at 88 Keys. Mr. Gaetano can definitely handle my esoteric taste in music.
So if you are in the South Bay Area (hell, if you’re in the Bay Area or beyond), check out the 88 Keys website (http://www.88keyscafe.com/) and get yourself down there when Mr. Gaetano is at the keyboard and give yourself a real treat.