“Interview With Myself”
You seemed really content and smiling after the show tonight. What was the reason(s)?
Are you kidding? Tonight was Special! When do I get a chance to play solo piano in concert and have one of my favorite pianist/composer/musicians of all time there in the audience? Herbie was there tonight (Hancock of course). He brought John Axelrod with him as well – who is the conductor on the tour Herbie is doing now with Lang Lang and orchestras (and who told me he performed my 1st piano concerto recently).
Were you nervous having such greatness in the audience?
You know, maybe I should’ve been – but Herbie has always been a big encouragement to me. He came backstage before the show and we chatted about music – and he also came back during intermission and gave me even more encouragement. I played some Bud Powell compositions in the 1st half, so we talked about Bud. I felt quite relaxed and, in fact, dedicated the concert to Herbie as my inspiration, mentor and teacher, musical partner and friend.
So how’d it go?
It was like a dream – having just the night before experienced the wonderful concert by Martha Argerich and Lilya Zilberstein, where I sat together with Herbie and took it all in – then tonight, there’s Herbie in the audience. So I played for him – oh, and the audience, too – and somehow everything flowed right – something about having such a high degree of understanding (Herbie) there in the 4th row. And, of course – not for the audience this time, but for me – I invited Herbie up to join me – 4 hands, and we played 2 encores together. And it was like we never stopped playing together – – such fun and such a joy.
So that’s why you were smiling after the show!?
You got it right.