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Tickling the Old Ivory - Piano Solos


We've been playing solos from our favorite performers and songs. So far, we have had the guitar string us along and we've had the doldrums beaten out of us by the old drums. Today, sit back, smile and show your ivory! We're going to share our favorite songs that include a piano solo - it might even be an instrumental.

There are a lot of fabulous performers with multiple talents - some play all the instruments we've discussed, but there are several who really stand out as stand up piano players.

Please list one song choice per post and do include the performer's name, link for easy listening and any memorable experiences you have to share about your choice of performer or song.

Did you grow up with a piano in your home? Were you forced to practice?

It seems many performers got their first love for music seated on a piano bench surrounded by family. Who is your favorite piano player?


Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Ray Charles does it wonderfully well regardless of which song he's tickling the ivory on.

"I've Got a Woman"

RoeDapple 6 years, 6 months ago

A favorite of mine for personal reasons . . .

Music Box Dancer - Frank Mills

brings a tear . . .

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

I need to get my hands on it. I'd never seen it before and it looks terrific. That and space hogs.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Here is a very cool animated statement about life and loss via piano. Touching. Wait for the darn ad to end! ;)


Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

we must have posted about the same time, schula - different choices of the same song!

Great, Roe!

riverdrifter 6 years, 6 months ago

Just about anything Dave Brubeck ever did. Blue Rondo a la Turk, for starters...


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

This isn't quite a solo - but damn close! Fur Elise Slightly Different! Only, it's more than slightly different! Rockin'!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

OK, this one really is a solo - Toccata and Fugue - an improvisation by Stewart Jones that Bach never dreamed of! I just love improvisations!

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Many mighty fine players!

I'm going to have to catch a couple via computer - old fashioned as it may be, as my iPhone seems to be choosy today.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Very funny. I hadn't seen before! Thanks for these blog suggestions. I've been wondering where you were.

mom_of_three 6 years, 6 months ago

I like Billy Joel, but I also like harry Connick jr. He plays the piano in all his songs, and I love "I just whisper your name" The video was shot in New orleans and its great.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Hey, camper!

Probably the most famous piano solo in rock is the ending of Clapton’s Layla.

Are you familiar with the story of the composer/player of the ending piano solo, Jim Gordon? He became mentally ill & thought he heard voices telling him to kill his mother, which he did. When you know that, it really makes that piano solo haunting. Like his last beautiful hurrah before mental illness set in. Here’s Wikipedia info about him:

In the late 1970s, Gordon complained of hearing voices in his head, primarily the voice of his mother, telling him to starve himself and filling him with violent rage if he disobeyed. His physicians failed to diagnose his mental illness and instead treated him for alcohol abuse. His condition worsened. This info from lonelane. Fascinating. Thanks!

On June 3, 1983, Gordon brutally murdered his mother with a hammer and a butcher's knife. It was not until his trial in 1984 that he was properly diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia. Unable to use the insanity defense, which California had recently narrowed, Gordon was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to sixteen years to life in prison with a possibility of parole. He has served his sentence at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, and the State Medical Corrections Facility in Vacaville. He has twice been denied parole. Currently, there is a petition online to assist him in either being released from prison or placed in a facility that offers more advanced treatment.

camper 6 years, 6 months ago

Hey Ronda, I heard of that. That whole record Dereck and the Dominoes put out was great. Tho this is no piano song, here is Jim Gordon playing drums with Delany and Bonnie even Eric Clapton and George Harrison.


RaynRavyn 6 years, 6 months ago

My favorite piano player is a lovely gentleman I went to school with. Can't find a video... (hint: Matt, upload something somewhere for us. lol) Seems we know him well here though :D. Other than that I love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3drqJ1...

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Cool Rayn, Im sure Matt will come take a seat at the piano soon.

Camper, thanks - piano solo or not, it works. Harrison! :)

Beachlady 6 years, 6 months ago

Anyone remember the old player pianos? This song brings back my childhood memories of our visits to Uncle Otto's. As soon as we would get there we would run to their player piano. We had to scoot the bench up as close as we could so our short little legs could reach the peddles and we would peddle as fast as we could to get that old piano roll rolling! It was great fun but I'm sure we drove all the adults crazy with our loud piano roll music! Enjoy this old Floyd Cramer classic, "The Old Piano Roll Blues". www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHMPr7lnPtk

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't remember getting to do this one, beachlady but I have seen a player piano in my day. Or is that piano player. Wonder who ended up with it, how much it'd be worth today. I sure hope it isn't in the creek bed with all the other cool antiques of rhe day!

Fixed_Asset 6 years, 6 months ago

I suppose this really doesn't count as a "solo", however, Victor Borge, a wonderful pianist and HILARIOUS!

Hungarian Rhapsody

camper 6 years, 6 months ago

Nice clip Beachlady. Some of the best piano playing I've ever seen was in a church here in Lawrence. It was gospel and soul music mixed together. I cannot even remember which church it was but I walked away not believing the performance I just saw. Man!

Here is a good one from Ray Charles.


schula 6 years, 6 months ago

I know I will get some grief from all of you about this one but I really like it.

Could It Be Magic -- Barry Manilow


camper 6 years, 6 months ago

Schula, everyone likes Barry Manilow

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Ah, wrong!!! He's right up there with the carpenters and the monkees in my book of dreaded musicians and performers. But tis ok. I'm accepting as long as I don't have to listen. :)

schula 6 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Camper! I love almost every CD/Album of his!

schula 6 years, 5 months ago

I mean I have almost every CD/album of his!

camper 6 years, 6 months ago

Leon is from Oklahoma. One of the best.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm surprised that no one has posted "The Entertainer", by Scott Joplin. It's a classic, and I can't find an improvisation that improves at all upon the original. It's been played well by thousands of performers, but here's a particularly good one, played exactly as Joplin wrote it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9gzZJ...

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 6 months ago

Well, and I love "Maple Leaf Rag", too! Here's a performance by Scott Joplin himsef, from an old pianola roll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7... Beachlady, this one's for you, it's from a player piano roll! And Ronda, you wanted a favorite? It's so hard to pick a favorite, there's just to many to pick from! But if I really did have to pick a favorite piano solo, and a favorite performer, I guess this would be it.

Beachlady 6 years, 6 months ago

Great animated piano story clip, Ronda! Interesting!

Thanks, Camper. And I've always liked Barry Manilow too, Schula. He really is talented on the piano in addition to his singing.

I really enjoyed hearing Leon Russell again, Multi and I think Victor Borge is so funny and a great pianist also, Fixed.

Here's another Floyd Cramer tune called "All Keyed Up." Great title, I think! www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPDobvAU0dE

Beachlady 6 years, 6 months ago

Opps, that last link was Floyd Cramer's "Last Date". Another favorite piano song of mine. Here's the link to Floyd Cramer's "All Keyed Up". Sorry about that! www.youtube.com/watch?v=nao8v4O_P8E

Beachlady 6 years, 6 months ago

Thanks, Ron you posted two of my very favorite piano tunes! I love "Maple Leaf Rag"! My Mom used to play that song by ear....a talent I wasn't blessed with, unfortunately! You probably noticed on the Maple Leaf Rag site, someone commented that this song "put them in the mood to tie some ladys to train tracks". You may have to replay the song and keep that in mind! LOL! Just like an old time movie theme!

And "The Entertainer" . When I was living in Kansas City, my neighbor upstairs would practice that song. Whenever he would start playing, I would shut off the TV, stereo, and/or radio so I could listen. He was quite good on the piano, and living in an apartment complex, it was a good thing that he was! Terrific song and great movie, "The Sting". Thanks again, for posting both songs!

LoveThsLife 6 years, 6 months ago

This song by the 5 Browns is insane. They are so good....wish I could play like this..haha!

LoveThsLife 6 years, 6 months ago

I guess I should put "played by the Five Browns"..they obviously didn't write it :)

Ronda Miller 6 years, 6 months ago

Wow, lots to listen to. You all know your piano players

how many of you play yourselves?

Romans832 6 years, 6 months ago

A great Christian artist: Dino. (If you had a last name like Kartsonakis you'd go by just your first name, too! ;) ) Home page: http://www.dinoplayspiano.com/ From that home page, "Dino's Music" allows you to access samples of CDs: http://www.dinoplayspiano.com/store/

Romans832 6 years, 5 months ago

Wondering... should he donate his recordings? After all, Christ condemned those who turned his "house of prayer" into a business. FYI, I went to a church website where Dino's holding a future concert, and there will be no tickets, only a "love offering."

riverdrifter 6 years, 6 months ago

Keith Jarrett can play a little. He's one of those ones that if he's in the neighborhood, you just drop what you're doing and go.

riverdrifter 6 years, 6 months ago

I want to throw in George Winston. I know two guys that hunt grouse with him in the upper peninsula and I'll be damned if I can get invited.

I love his music.

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