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The people who have influenced my piano music (and overall love for music) stretches over a forty-five year period. Minneapolis local musician who passed away in 2014, Bob Deichert, got me interested in music and taught me the guitar while he played the piano! After guitar practice, I would play the piano. I never had formal piano lessons, but learned chords and theory.

Major artists who influenced my piano-playing include Leon Russell, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, and Billy Preston. I attended my first concert of Leon Russell performing in 1974, and I continue to see him perform when he comes to Minneapolis. Someday I would like to meet him. I was mesmerized at the sight of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the mid-70’s when they played at the Guthrie Theater…great moments I will forever cherish.

I love Leon’s masterful command of the piano; I am in awe of his skill, creativity, honky-tonk style, unique voice and piano sound, and amazing compositions…the master of space and time. Miles Davis’s electric trumpet sound, memorable melodic statements, and his persona shook the music world…his music was so far ahead of his time…I love his drive to search for infinity. Herbie Hancock and his 1970’s jazz-fusion funk sent the world moving in a new direction. Joe Zawinul, the keyboard/synthesizer master, played quiet songs with his truly heavenly world sound. Going to the Mahavishnu concerts was a trip, with John McLaughlin's finger-speed and perfection. Finally, Billy Preston's memorable soulful song and dance at the Concert for Bangladesh was the ultimate. I am honored to share with you these masters who influenced my passion in piano music. Their contributions will live forever in music influence and history.  

Leon Russell


herbie hancock

Mahavishnu Orchestra

Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul

Billy Preston

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