Into his waking hours Denny Zeitlin manages to work fly fishing, mountain biking, master-level wine connoisseurship, the practice of psychiatry andlet’s see, there was something else. Oh yes, he plays the piano. In his mid-seventies, Zeitlin shows no inclination to slow down in any of his pursuits, least of all at the keyboard.
Following a remarkable recording debut with the flutist Jeremy Steig in 1963, the pianist went on to record frequently with trios that have included some of the music’s most celebrated bassists and drummers. In the past few years, he has frequently also appeared unaccompanied on recordings and in person. His next solo date is scheduled for a week from this evening at the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland, not far from his home in Marin County, California. In a note, Zeitlin commented on the hall’s unusual sound qualities.
The venue is unique: The Piedmont Piano Company has a large showroom, packed with all makes and styles of piano, breaking up the standing wave phenomenon that haunts many performance spaces. The resultant acoustics are great, and the choices of instrument for the performer are phenomenal.
In the meantime, or if your plans don’t include a stop in Oakland, here is Zeitlin unaccompanied at the 1983 Berlin Jazz Festival, playing his composition “Quiet Now.”
“Quiet Now” was adopted in the 1970s by piano icon Bill Evans, giving the musical aspect of Zeitlin’s career and, no doubt, his ego, a substantial boost. It remains one of the Zeitlin compositions most often recorded by others.