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Ultimately confident musician

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Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
Topic starter  

At the suggestion of Noteboat, I went to see a great piano bar entertainer by the name of Buddy Charles. He was immensly entertaining and I had a great time. But one thing struck me in particular . . . both for the humor and what it showed about really good musicians.

He was playing a song, had done a verse and was playing the bridge. After maybe a half dozen measures he just says out loud "What the hell key am I in?"

After a few more measures he just kind of calmly declare "I don't know.. someone name a key"

Someone yells out "Bb" and he says "no no ... oh what the heck" and he goes through a couple of chord changes declares "there it is" and goes back to singing.

What was great about this was that the music never stopped. I'm pretty sure that he wasn't kidding. He didn't know what key he had started in, but he was able to keep the melody moving.

Overall an interesting lesson in performing when things go a bit wrong.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 3221

He didn't know what key he had started in, but he was able to keep the melody moving.

See? It really is all about scale patterns.

Ha! :lol:

(I win!)

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

LOL more like it's all about Buddy and his mastery of his instrument :)

I first saw him play when I was in college. He's truly a master at boogie-woogie piano, but the thing that really got me was the breadth of his repertoire. Back then he played every night at a 4am joint called the Acorn on Oak (on Chicago's Oak Street, naturally). I'd go in late, 2-3am, and Buddy was always doing requests. So I started to ask for stuff. Odd stuff. Tangos. German brass band tunes. Tom Lehrer. Whatever I'd heard on Dr. Demento the week before. Anything.

Without fail, Buddy played whatever it was. I have never met another musician with a broader repertoire - I mean, there's a lot of people who will do a passable rendition of a tune they know the melody to... but Buddy whips out a full-blown arrangement. And I'll bet he knows at least 3000 different songs of the top of his head.

Buddy's an old man now - I last saw him a couple years ago, and he needed assistance getting in and out of the club; his age shows. But as soon as he sits down at the keyboard, 50 years roll right off his shoulders.

Go see him if you get a chance.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 266

I can definitly respect that alot. I only hope thatI could be that kind of musician in my later years.

GN's resident learning sponge, show me a little and I will soak it up.

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1675

Cool! Thanks for sharing that experience. 8)


When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~