In anticipation of Hoppy Holidays, I will be counting down the top five keyboardists whom have had the most influence on my playing. I’ll post a different artist every few days between now and the first day of Hoppy Holidays: Friday, December 10th. I am often asked to name the most influential keyboardists in my life. I usually just rattle off my favorites from then and now, but I wanted to really take a look at who influenced my playing. I didn’t want to select just keyboard players that I admire and study, but those that have made an impact on my performance and writing. So I scanned my iTunes library and dug up my old cassettes from the basement and this is what it came down to…
#4: Brent Mydland
I remember being freaked out about the name “Grateful Dead,” I always imagined a heavy metal band of sorts, but once I listened to what they were doing, I had more respect for the music. My brother had this great soundboard tape and the keyboards were super high in the mix, perhaps to the detriment of the blend, but it did give me a chance to check out some of his work firsthand. It was kind of like a personal keyboard lesson. And it was great to hear someone up close, acting and reacting to what was going on in the music. I remember checking out the whole “China Cat Sunflower” into “I Know You Rider”-sequence many times. There was such good listening going on from everyone on stage. The music seemed like a big conversation and Jerry’s melodies would weave through bass and keys lines so seamlessly. I’d never heard a piano player on up-tempo, almost-bluegrass-style tunes before, it was an eye-opener. It was in Brent’s playing that I understood how improvisational music could be brought into the rock realm. Basically, it was through him that I really started getting into the Jam scene.
Hoppy Holidays 12/10 Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom | Denver, CO – KHB feat. DJ Logic & Liza Oxnard w/The Nu Classics plus signature beer by Kyle and Boulder Beer 12/11 Hodi’s Half Note | Fort Collins, CO – KHB feat. DJ Logic & Liza Oxnard w/the Nu Classics plus signature beer by Kyle and Boulder Beer 12/12 Avery Brewing Co. | Boulder, CO – KHB plus signature beer by Kyle and Avery Brewing and much, much, more!