Met a lady who worked in a donut shop many decades ago, and was frequently visited by a then young Mel Torme. He would stop in every morning and get cinnamon buns and coffee. And he repeatedly was asking her out on dates, she said.
"So did you go out with him?" I quickly asked her.
She said she wouldn't date him because it seemed he ate the pastries too fast and often developed a runny nose!
Years ago, I walked into a new facility to play. As soon as I entered the lobby, the receptionist picked up the phone, quickly called a colleague and said:
"Dr. Smith is here."
I chuckled and asked her:
"Who is Dr. Smith?"
"Oh, aren't you Dr. Smith?"
"No. I'm Michael, the pianist."
At another appointment one morning, this one gentleman I play for said to me:
"I put on cologne just for you today, I knew you were coming here to play piano".
Request from a listener:
"Michael, I would really love it if you could please write an original song about whisky!"
"WHISKEY??? Gee, I don't even drink whiskey .. you want me to write a song about it?"
"I love how nicely you play diminished chords!", directed at me, by an audience member, obviously a musician.
Comment from a woman listener:
"I've fallen in love many times .. and it has always been to music!"
Very elderly gentleman told me all about his correspondence with entertainer/actress/Big-Band era singer/TV star/Broadway performer Gloria DeHaven during his time oversees in WWII. For many years, then and long afterwards, he kept a photo of her in his wallet.
Couple years ago, played for this one quite elderly gentleman who is a retired concert pianist who toured for many years - pounding out Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto, among other things!
His teacher, when he was studying, was a student of a great pianist named Moriz Rosenthal. Rosenthal (1862-1946) was one of Franz Liszt's last students.
"WOW!, How did you do that without any sheet music in front of you?", asked one listener.
I told her most of the jazz pieces I showcase, I play by ear and have them memorized.
She quickly yelled:
"WHY ISN'T YOUR HEAD BIGGER???"
A few years ago, a woman asked me:
"Do you play any classical piano?"
"Yes I do", I answered.
She then made the request:
"Can you play the Midnight Sinatra?"
Back in 2014, listener came up to me and said:
"You make the piano talk".
A resident at one of the facilities I play, told me all about an evening back in the 40's, how they went out dancing in a ballrooom to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Dorsey, at one point in the evening said:
"We don't care how many Tom Collins you've had, you have to get up and dance!"
Here are the most common incorrect name-places folks sing the 4th line to, whenever I've played the song: "Puff The Magic Dragon".
"Puff the Magic Dragon,
Lived by the sea,
and frolicked in the Autumn mist,
in a land called ... ... ... ?" I hear "Galilee" ... "Tripoli" ... "Sarah Lee" ... even "San Jose" ...
no, he lives in Honahlee.
Craziest piano playing story:
Performing in Napa in 2016, on a Baldwin grand, I kept noticing some really weird, eerie buzzing sounds when I played certain low notes ... I feared that perhaps a string had broken and was laying idly across some other strings,
So I finally told everyone in the audience:
"Okay everybody, I gotta stop for a couple minutes and open the piano and see what the heck's causing this buzzing, maybe you have a broken string!"
I looked way inside, and UNBELIEVABLE!! There, laying on the strings was a black plastic knob off of a stove!
I grabbed it and called staff right away.
"Hey, is there an appliance in the building that somebody's missing a knob off of?"
I jokingly told the audience:
"Maybe somebody was trying to play 'Home on the Range' ...?"