From Pink Upright Piano to Steinway Concert Grand!
My earliest memories of the piano were sitting at an old pink upright piano in my big sister's room, playing The Volga Boatman while my Russian grandmother sang the lyrics in Russian. Who knew I would eventually go from that pink upright into becoming a pianist full-time and have played in some amazing places.
After a career as a pianist, I wound up in the concert industry and have worked with many of my music heroes. I loved booking the cool ones whose music I grew up on!
Since the concert industry took a break because of Covid - I have had time on my hands to reflect on what is important to me. It always comes back to the piano - and my love for it has never changed. I play every night before going to bed. It is when I feel connected with my true place in life. After the last note, I always lift my hands upward to the heavens and thank my parents, Edward John & Irene Bazel, for forcing me to take 11 years of piano lessons - kicking and screaming the whole way. These piano lessons were the best present they ever gave me - the ability to play the piano. And for what it's worth, I also thank my sister Patti in heaven for starting piano lessons before me.
So here I now sit - or is it pace - or actually, it is practice - the songs I will record at Abbey Road Studios - Studio 2 in London in 11 weeks. Instead of playing a pink upright piano - I have to choose between Abbey Road's 9 foot Steinway D Concert Grand or their Yamaha SFX concert grand. Both are out-of-this-world pianos.
Which one to choose? It's a hard choice, and they sent me two audio tracks to hear each piano. The pianist playing on them is the Abbey Road recording engineer's friend who was practicing on both:
Oh my, what a choice to make. If you do listen, make sure you get to the 3-minute mark where the piece calms down, and you can hear some beautiful overtones.
I have an amazing life thanks to my parents forcing me - kicking and screaming - to take 11 years of piano lessons!