MUSIC BEGINS AT HOME
I was born bangin’ on the piano. It was just a toy, I guess, and it still is. There was always a piano in our house because my grandmother had great friends who played the piano great. She only played with one finger. It was the family piano, but nobody in the family really played it. But my Grandma loved the piano and kept it tuned.
When I was a little kid, Eddie Hines played piano at Grandma’s pokeeno parties where everybody danced to the music. My Grandpa, Grandma & Mother played pokeeno (a card game, with chips) with their friends and when they lost at pokeeno everybody got up and danced.
I’d sneak out of bed and come and sit next to Eddie. Boy, watching him play, could he whip that piano! He could make everybody dance. He played like Nat King Cole, a bit of Tatum in there. So when I was five I asked my mother for piano lessons.
In Detroit Friday night was when the new jazz acts opened and every Friday night my Mother took me out with her to hear the new acts – Duke, etc.