Bill Schaeffer Piano 5-19-2012
Bill Schaeffer Piano
May 19, 2012
Recorded as part of the Street Pianos LA festivities in March and April of 2012. This recording was made at a piano sponsored by Homeboy Industries. The piano was located at Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts and Education.
00:00 All Blues
03:42 Train Horn sound
04:25 I've been working on the Railroad
06:30 Alley Cat
08:47 Are You Lonesome Tonight
11:17 Baby Elephant Walk
14:08 Besame Mucho
17:23 ...talking with Albert...
18:00 Black Orpheus
22:00 Blue Moon
23:33 By the Time I get to Phoenix
26:03 Can't Help Falling in Love with You
I don't think most people realize that when I made this recording I was near broke, and did not own a piano. I lost my career, my condo, my savings, and my professional life in the stock market crash of 2008. I had to sell my piano and move.
Sometimes, I could not find a piano to practice on for two or three months. I went to music stores, churches, schools and restaurants to try and find an available piano. Most public pianos in Los Angeles are guarded fiercely by bitter middle aged clerks.
When the street pianos LA was announced it was like a miracle from heaven. NOW I had a place that I could practice piano.
I took an old video camera and audio recorder along to document the events. Half the time, some technical problem ruined the recording. This recording is mono, because there was a loud BUZZ noise in the left channel.
Generally the experience, however, was fantastic. It was fun to go to new locations of the city that I had never been before. I always met friendly people and occasionally some angry people. I got to see a lot of fabulous piano art work and that was really special. I love these painted pianos!!! I got to play on a lot of broken down piano mechanisms and that was really challenging.
On this recording day, I met a couple other musicians and we jammed "off camera." The birds and the train were just coincidental fun. I love those birds.
I love playing piano when the birds start to sing. It is almost like we are making music together. The birds in this park had some amazing vocalizations and I never even saw what kind of birds they were. They were nesting in a huge dark tree with dense foliage right at the edge of the lake. I went back to play piano at the same park a month later and someone had cut the whole tree down.
When I had a piano in my condo I use to play on my lunch hour. I had noticed then that birds are more likely to sing along if I play in the key of E major. But those birds were sparrows, or some little birds, and I have no idea what these birds were.
I love the California Mocking Bird. Those little birds have some of the most amazing and musical vocalizations I have ever heard. I swear that they are communicating and that they know how to count.
I have never ending fun while walking outside by trying to imitate the California Mocking birds with whistling. When I hear one, I start whistling and see if we can establish a "conversation." Occasionally one will get very agitated and animated. I would love to compose a piece of music where all the melody lines were based on music transcriptions of California Mocking Bird vocalizations.
Thanks to www.streetpianosla.com for organizing this event and promoting the piano music.
Thanks also to the artists for their fantastic fun painted and decorative art!!!
It was much fun to see all the different art treatments on all those pianos.
Playing piano is one of the few things that I enjoy in life, that makes me feel good.
One day I will find a restaurant or place to perform on a regular basis.
And until then, I keep dreaming and playing when I can find a piano.
If we judge the culture of a city by the number of pianos for the public, then Los Angeles is generally not a very civilized society.
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