Arts & Entertainment: ‘An Evening of Keys’ to showcase the power of piano

It isn’t often that the mighty keyboard gets to be front-and-center for a music showcase dedicated to its versatility and charm, but that’s exactly what will happen at Louie G.’s on March 21 for “An Evening of Keys,” featuring six Northwest musicians usually seen performing with the rest of their bands but will have the stage all to themselves at this show.

“An Evening of Keys” was started by Maurice the Fish Records CEO Raymond Hayden. “This show is unique in that you'll get to see six veteran players who each bring a different genre of music to the stage,” he said. “Many people have seen each of us in our respective bands, but this will shed some light onto what makes us all tick on an individual level.”

Slated to play at “An Evening of Keys” are:

  • Raymond Hayden with guests Liz and Dan Teisan of Late September Dogs. Hayden is songwriter and keyboardist for Raymond Hayden and the Monsters in the Dark, and his long musical resume includes opening for Blue Oyster Cult, Nazareth, April Wine and Berlin;
  • Doug Skoog, keyboardist for Blues Redemption and The Crazy Texas Gypsies; Skoog has also performed with Chuck Berry and John Lee Hooker, among other notables;
  • Mark Bittler, funky keyboardist and composer for Bump Kitchen;
  • Anthony Ciarochi, keyboardist for Tin Man, The Aury Moore Band and Stone Age Thriller, with guest Laurie Johnson,;
  • Derek Whitaker and guest vocalist Brenda Kashmir; Whitaker is keyboardist with Heartless and has performed with Heart, Heart to Heart and Alan White of Yes.

Headlining the show will be Brooke Lizotte, most recently of the newly formed band DreamWreck that Lizotte formed “with a bunch of old characters I’ve known forever and day,” as he described them – two members of Heart (Ben Smith on drums/vocals and Jon Bayless on bass/vocals) and Rod Cook on guitars/vocals (Vicci Martinez, Little Bill). For “Evening of Keys” Lizotte will be without these bandmates but he will have a special guest – recording artist Pamela Moore, who’s about to release her album “Resurrect Me” for which she and Lizotte co-wrote together. A backup singer for Queensryche, among her other accomplishments, Moore’s powerhouse voice and drop-dead gorgeousness are sure to blend beautifully with Lizotte’s masterful playing, as he describes their chemistry as “a lot of love and heart.”

Lizotte has worked with lots of big names in the business like Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse and producer Salaam Remi. For Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lewis he played piano, keys and string arrangements for their single “Love Is Your Color” on the soundtrack “Sex and the City 2.” He’s written and recorded with Randy Meisner from the Eagles and Dan Reed of Dan Reed Network; Lizotte co-wrote a song that will be on Reed’s new album “Signal Fire.” Other films Lizotte has worked on include “Burlesque,” “Happily N’Ever After” and “Last Night,” among others.

With more than 56 years of making music behind him (he just turned 61), Lizotte has a wealth of material to cull from. Without giving too much away about his “Evening of Keys” set list, he said he’ll play all his own original material, and maybe with backing instrumental tracks and maybe not. “I’m not completely sure yet,” he said. “My musicality moves between Beethoven and Basie and the Beatles. I run the gamut,” he said. Now living on Mercer Island after two decades in Los Angeles, Lizotte is very busy writing, recording and producing at Triad Studios on Capitol Hill and at working in film and television. He recently finished playing keyboards for a new CD by Danny O’Keefe (who music lovers will remember from the 70’s hit song “Goodtime Charlie’s Got the Blues”) and helping out his friend, and former Microsoft executive, Jim Allchin record music showcasing Allchin’s contemporary blues-rock guitar. Lizotte said he’s also working on a project for HBO in addition to his usual session artist work. Lizotte says he really didn’t miss a beat between relocating from L.A. back up to the great Northwest. In fact, having been born and raised on Queen Anne Hill, Lizotte says being back home in Seattle has opened for him “a magical era in my life. My mom is quite elderly so it’s nice to be near her, and I’m plugging in to friends and family I’ve known forever,” he said. And he’s really looking forward to entertaining the audience at “An Evening of Keys.”

“It’s gonna be a kick.”

The show starts at 8 p.m., March 21 at Louie G.’s Pizzeria, 5219 Pacific Hwy. E. in Fife. Admission is $7.

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