That would be me, thanks to a couple of friends.
It has been 10 years since I seriously laid fingers on a keyboard. At a time of financial turmoil, I had to sell off my Hammond. Since then, the fingers and instincts have atrophied.
That hurt. Oh, did it hurt. I would have to say that the lack of music-making gear was more painful than anything else this side of, well, companionship.
Today, I'm back in the game.
My neighbor, the mad piano player, is moving out. He and his wife offered me their acoustic piano, which at first I wasn't thrilled about taking. I mean, who wants everyone in the damn building to know whatever musical talent I may have had has faded away. I didn't want to subject everyone to endless scales and chord progressions.
At one time, I didn't care who heard me. I could play back then.
But when a great friend, a talented musician in his own right, offered to send me one of his electronic keyboards -- which I can play while wearing headphones -- I decided I might as well have both.
As of today, I do...
No one will hear me for a while. I can practice as long as I want, when I want, and not bug anyone.
And when (if?) the chops come back, I can sit down to the 88 and make loud noises.
I'm not a pianist, not at all. But the piano is the best instrument for making the fingers work. In time, I'll start playing the organ again. Not, however, until I can master the single keyboard.
When the two keyboards arrived, I hustled down to the garage and hauled out my sheet music and exercise books.
Now, the hard part begins.
The plan is to listen to Art Tatum until my ears fall off. Then, once I've mastered some of his licks, I'll know I'm getting somewhere.
PARENTHETICAL MUSIC-HISTORY NOTE: It is said that Tatum, who was blind, wandered into a dive one day and heard two piano players jazzing it up. He went home and practiced until he could imitate what he heard, never knowing there were two and not just one pair of hands playing.
I'm not Tatum. Never have been, never will be.
But I will get my chops back.
Tonight, I feel more alive.
That's what music will do for you.
And I feel more gratitude than I can express to these people for giving me the best gifts I could imagine, for understanding -- and sharing -- the desire to make music.
6 hours ago