Off The Press
February 24, 2009
By David Hayes
Ever seen a grown man giddy? Usually, it’s not a pretty sight. Well, luckily, no one was around to see my attack of giddiness Saturday.
I am a lapsed novice pianist, having taken 10 years of lessons growing up, but have only dabbled since. So, I was ecstatic to interview one of my favorite artists, David Lanz.
And it was the interview that almost wasn’t.We received word late Friday we should do a preview story about his scheduled appearance at Bake’s Place, a jazz bar and restaurant in Providence Point of growing notoriety. Unfortunately, owners Craig and Laura Baker were out of town on vacation to attend a wedding in Mexico. Calling them would have been bad form.
So, I called David’s booking agent, Carol Tingstad. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s married to half of the Grammy-award winning duo of Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel. They performed at Bake’s in December and loved the intimate setting. So, Carol recommended to Lanz he consider a gig there.
I gave her my cell phone number in the hopes if Lanz became available over the weekend, he could call me.
So, could a five-time Grammy nominated artist fit me into his busy schedule? Still wearing my PJs, sitting at my computer playing Bejeweled Twist, my phone did indeed ring with an unknown number with a 360 area code. It could only be Lanz.
He sounded bright and cheery at 11 a.m. I was only hoping to sound professional, not like a star-struck first-year piano student. I’ve had his piano books in the bench for years and I own many of his albums, from his full orchestral arrangements to his most exquisite solo compilations.
And he asks me right off if this is a good time to talk.
“For someone of your stature, I’m available anytime,” I told him, eliciting a chuckle.
Of course, meanwhile I was scrambling to find a pen and paper, mouthing to my wife, who’s cooking in the kitchen, pointing to the phone, “It’s David Lanz!”
Luckily, she found some printer paper in a drawer.
Being from Bellingham, Lanz usually tries to fit local performances into his busy national touring schedule. He was supposed to perform at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall in December. But the heavy snowfall cancelled the show.
“Many of the same people who were going to that show are apparently coming to the Bake’s performance,” he said. “So, it looks like this will be a good makeup gig.”
In our chat, I learned he really doesn’t like his music to be lumped into the “New Age” category.
“That’s not a musical term,” he said. “It’s just a marketing term made up by a record executive.
“I like to describe my music as contemporary instrumental. It’s a folksy piano style that flirts with jazz,” he added.
Many piano students have played Lanz’s most familiar piece, “Cristofori’s Dream.” Because of that popularity, he’s been hosting workshops where lucky students and their teachers from a YouTube contest win a Lanz visit to living rooms for a private session.
So, Lanz is used to performing for both crowds of thousands or just a handful. He’s looking forward to performing at Bake’s, which can hold up to 70 for dinner and a performance.
“I don’t usually end up in clubs, but this should be great for folks to come sit and listen to the show,” he said.
Would it be bad form if I came three hours early to secure a front-row seat? I don’t want to be known as “that giddy reporter.” But, heck, Saturday cannot get here soon enough.