An Aging Jazz Pianist Finds a New Audience
Read the whole article here, and there are some photos and a video, but the music is at the bottom of this page.
For years, the donated piano sat upright and unused in a corner of the nursing home’s cafeteria. Now and then someone would wheel or wobble over to pound out broken notes on the broken keys, but those out-of-tune interludes were rare. Day after surrendering day, the flawed piano remained mercifully silent.
Then came a new resident, a musician in his 80s with a touch of forgetfulness named Boyd Lee Dunlop, and he could play a little. Actually, he could play a lot, his bony fingers dancing the mad dance of improvised jazz in a way that evoked a long life’s all.
The lean times and the flush. The Saturday night hop and the Sunday morning hymn. Those long drives in a Packard to the next gig. That fine woman Adelaide, oh Adelaide, down in North Carolina. The deaths of a beloved aunt and a difficult marriage. Some things you don’t forget, so Mr. Dunlop keeps a white towel handy to wipe his eyes dry.
And so Mr. Dunlop would have remained, summoning transcendence from a damaged piano in the Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, his audience a couple of administrators, a few nurses and many patients beset with dementia, loneliness and age — were it not for a chance encounter and some cheesecake.
There are a few more videos at YouTube.
You can buy his CD, or tickets to his concert in Buffalo tomorrow, here.