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Take away all of the layers of music – in the studio, or on prominent stages – and you’re left with a man at the piano.
As much as Steve relishes the “big show,” and putting together all of the elements that make a recording happen, or an event jump, he has spent another lifetime making music by himself at the piano.
For over a decade, Steve DeDoes was a regular performer at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, most frequently as a solo pianist. He has also enjoyed extended stints at many restaurants (including Weber’s & The Blue Nile in Ann Arbor) along with performing at countless venues throughout Michigan over the years. He has also accompanied many vocalists, comedians, and performers with his distinctive piano stylings – including the personal thrill of once accompanying the great Mel Torme in an impromptu performance the legend gave at Weber’s Inn.
Solo piano has also always been a big part of Second City shows, albeit in a theatrical tradition that differs from the intimacy of clubs and restaurants. However, Steve’s Second City experience (1990s) is yet another component, along with his extensive jazz background, that helps to form an inviting artistry that results in a distinctive musical product – sensitive yet soulful, captivating yet comfortable.
When an experienced pianist like Steve “plays the room,” he culls tunes from a vast repertoire of songs across generations – able to adapt songs instantly to different styles, play in different keys (to accommodate vocalists and other performers), improvise solos and transitions, and more. While observing the audience, and understanding the surroundings, Steve always seeks to entertain and mix recognizable melodies with interesting textures and grooves. At a function or social setting, the desired atmosphere becomes special: at times sophisticated, lively, intimate, entertaining, relaxed – and usually, a combination of all of these moods over the course of an evening.
In addition to his capability to just “sit down and play,” Steve DeDoes also has created some noteworthy original compositions for the piano. Unfortunately, he has learned that he has to continue to practice his own repertoire ! In a tongue-in-cheek lament, Steve says that he “doesn’t understand why I have to spend time practicing what I wrote. If I thought of it, then my fingers should automatically know what to do ! ”