President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House when the United States intervened on behalf of the millions of innocent people who were being displaced and massacred by Hitler’s Nazi Germany, claimed to have practiced his piano lessons for two hours every morning during his childhood. Likewise, President Warren Harding was said to be able to play every instrument except the trombone and the clarinet. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) played the organ. Of course we all remember President Clinton and his saxophone, but did you know that President Nixon was an accomplished pianist?
And more recently a girl who was a musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a very accomplished classical pianist. As she was growing up in the Rice home music was a family affair, and as early as age 3 Condi played piano at family gatherings. Her Dad was a minister and she often accompanied her organist Mother in church. The name “Condoleezza” is from the Italian phrase con dolcezza, which refers to playing music “with sweetness.” While other kids in her neighorhood were playing outdoors, she was more likely to be found practicing the piano or reading a book. Read more...(600 words, estimated 2:24 mins reading time)
This is a preview of So You Want to be President – Learn to Play a Musical Instrument. Read the full post
Dan Federici longtime keyboardist/accordian player for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band passed away yesterday after a long battle with melanoma.
Danny (Phantom Dan) was a key part of the Jersey Shore sound that broke out of Asbury Park with Springsteen in the mid-70’s. Federici had played in a number of bands with Bruce going back to the late 60’s. Dan’s was a laid back style, keeping to his corner of the stage, yet weaving his organ sound around and through so many Springsteen classics. His accordian work on songs like “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” epitomized the early Springsteen sound. Other good examples of his work can be found on songs like “Kitty’s Back” and “Independence Day” and especially the coda for “Racing in the Street”
Springsteen and the band, currently on tour, have canceled this weekend’s shows. The tour may resume later next week.
Given the volatile nature of rock bands and the rock and roll lifestyle, it’s notable that Federici is the first member of the 35 year old E Street Band to pass from the scene.