Some people have a talent for driving fast cars some for cooking – me I can show people how to write music, not necessarily brilliant music but good enough to remedy certain problems like classical musicians who want to improvise or people who fear they are too old to start.
My brother Ronnie trained me – I was his left hand so he could solo in the treble clef. I spent hours as a little kid accompanying his blues fantasies and that’s how I start most new students jamming blues on a shared the piano bench. When I was a kid I saw three of these guys in concert – Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee but oh what I would give to see or talk to Otis Spann.
Sometimes journalists want to discuss my piano playing often asking the same questions about Keith Emerson, Garth Hudson or Jerry Lee Lewis but I never studied any of those people – I guess that reflects the journalist’s record collection (especially what’s missing from it). I studied Otis Spann, Keith Jarrett and Joni Mitchell, if I was lucky some of it rubbed off on me but first and foremost it’s the real blues style that informs everything.