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HomeAbout the Cocktail Piano Series

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COCKTAIL PIANO is a series of piano recordings dedicated to that special type of piano music you associate with elegant lounges high atop the skyscrapers of New York or in an intimate nightclub somewhere along the Left Bank in Paris. It is quiet, sophisticated music, not quite jazz and not quite classical, but drawing from both schools. It features the great standards of the 30's and 40's from such gifted writers as George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart and many others. These are the great popular standards of America, and the COCKTAIL PIANO series celebrates them. This is music for relaxing, for dining, and a welcome companion in your car. It is music to end your day with and for quiet times on the weekend. In short, you're about to make a new friend....

"Listen to what our customers say......."

Dear Jim,

"Cocktail piano is such an art form. a magical backdrop that is so timeless and speaks of such elegance, sophistication, and a grace that we really have to work to maintain it these days ! I can't thank you enough for bringing back those wonderful memories, as well as to create a uinique ambiance in my current life."

A listener in Boca Raton. FL

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Dear Jim,

My wife came home with Volume I last night. We listened to it over cocktails and dinner and loved it. I sent her back today to buy Volumes II and III. I have been looking for this music for years.

Please be sure we are on your mailing list for future releases.

Regards,
Lee Thayer
Boca Raton, F

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Dear Jim,

Of all the songs on Cocktail Piano I and Cocktail Piano III the one I love best is “All The Things You Are”. Whenever I need a lift I put it on my CD player, and suddenly the world is wonderful and life is full of hope. I really hate to gush but your music has brought so much pleasure to my life. Listening to your piano playing makes me enjoy life more – it makes me nicer to my husband and children.

Thank you for sending your music out into the world. It certainly made me happier and I am sure many other people feel the same way.

Sincerely,

Mary Beth Bowen,
Drama Teacher

Washington, DC

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Dear Mr. Haskins,


How I wish I could find the words to tell you what pleasure your CDs have been providing me over the past few months. My dear friend, David Jennings, and I were on the computer on Sunday afternoon looking up CDs by George Feyer when we just happened to type in cocktail piano.com. That's when we were introduced to you. We are long time lovers of music--opera, classical, Broadway and especially what one would today describe as The Great American Songbook-songs of Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein- just to name a few. We adore Barbara Cook and have seen her many times. The same for Michael Feinstein. When we saw Ms. Cook at the Hotel Carlyle in New York, before entering the boite where she was to sing, we sat in the outer lobby listening to the tinkling keys played by Peter Minton (no longer there) and bemoaned the fact that that type of piano music was so hard to come by. David and I have shopped over the past 35 years for the perfect piano background music. Often we would buy records and then CDs only to be disappointed because too many songs would be up tempo and simply not dreamy enough. Then we found you. With every tune we play we keep saying, "This is one of my favorite songs" ad nauseam. Our friends say exactly the same thing. Where have you been all of our lives? I stumbled upon an ad for you in The New Yorker about a week after I placed my first order. After today's order I will own I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, IX, X and Goes to the Movies. We have started keeping a list of songs we haven't found on your CDs such as "Dancing in the Dark", "Close as Pages in a Book", "On a Clear Day". We also would love more ballads of Cole Porter and George Gershwin.

Your work should be more widely advertised to spread the word. An ad in Opera News would not hurt, I am sure.

I will write again as we keep updating our wishlist.

Thanks once again.

Sincerely,
Pauline Della Ventura
Providence, Rhode Island

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Dear Jim,

I greatly enjoyed your Christmas Piano album last holiday season. Vince Guaraldi, Joe Pass, Nat Cole, Mel Torme and Jim Haskins; what a beautiful way to celebrate the season!

SIncerely,


C. Philip Bonham
Cincinnati, Ohio

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Dear Jim,

I listened to “Laura”,“Time After Time” and “Long Ago and Far Away” on the way to work today. In my view, what is happening here is that you are mining the “classics” of American popular music, and allowing them to shine forth through your deep respect for the melodic line, the contribution of your own creativity and playfulness through engaging voicings and rhythmic patterns that extend across the full range of the piano, calling forth other instruments such as strings, chimes and bells, a good honest straightforward sense of swing and a deep and abiding romanticism. The greatest of these is your romanticism. All of this , plus your classical training, flawless technique, and good taste produce an on-going tireless celebration of the great tradition of American popular song.

Let me say that after listening to your album that the sound you get out of that piano is just gorgeous. You really bridge the gap between jazz and conventional cocktail piano playing because of the beauty of your playing. I know it must be a help to have a Bosendorfer, but man, you really get some deep sound in your voicing. To my mind you rank with Dave Brubeck and Dave McKenna as really bringing out the beauty in a piano.

Best,

John Perhonnis, PhD

(Note – John Perhonnis is a jazz critic and wrote his doctoral thesis on Bix Beiderbecke)

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Dear Jim,

I was sitting here in front of my word processor with the beautiful strains of “Oh Lady Be Good” giving me their now-familiar pleasure and realized how often and fervently I had thanked you in my heart for your music…..but I had never taken the time to put it in writing.

It’s difficult to explain why yours is different from dozens of other albums I have. For one thing even the first time I heard your renditions I realized I was often “hearing” the chord transition before you played it----and everything in me said YES! This in not to say that you never surprised me by taking an unusual musical path….for you often delighted me unexpectedly. But I so frequently anticipated it somewhere in my head. Strange.

I’ve lost count of the numbers of people I have given your music as gifts…as well as the many who have been to dinner in our home and said “WHOSE music is that?” So thank you, thank you for the pleasure you continually give to me and others. Which leads me to my next request….. WHEN is the next one coming out??


Very sincerely.


Linda Doughty

Memphis, TN

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Hello Jim,

Recently, for my 79th birthday, I received the only two Cocktail Piano CDs I did not have.
I’ve told my daughter that they are gifts of lasting value, because hardly a day goes by that we don’t have a Jim Haskins CD playing. They are perfect for me because they are the very songs I know well and love.

It seems that each time I listen they upgrade themselves from backgouund to foreground music. I’m constantly amazed and fascinated by your sensitive expressions of the lyrics, even though they are unseen. I’ve no doubt, the composers would recognize your awareness of the thoughts and emotions they wanted to express and your ability to communicate them in your own way.

You are appreciated!!!!!!!!

Don Foster

Canada

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This was taken from an email to us dated May 11, 2007 -----

-----“Hello, It’s that pesky voice from Maine again with just a compliment to pass on. I mentioned that my college roommate is Alfred Burt’s niece. She was here for a few days and finally listened to your “Christmas Piano” recording which included several of the Burt Carols. She said to tell you that she was very pleased with the way you played them and thought her uncle would have been, as well. She is also a pianist and has long had as intense interest in these songs and has heard interpretations that strayed pretty far from the originals. She was so happy that you had not. She enjoyed the whole CD immensely”.

----- A fan in Maine -----


Editorial Note: I heard the Alfred Burt carols for the first time in 1960 and knew instantly they were classics. Burt was the son of an Episcopal priest. He obviously loved jazz chords and phrasing. As an on the road jazz musician who rarely got to spend Christmas at home I feel that Burt in writing his lovely carols with the modernistic harmonies has given jazz musicians everywhere and all of us a way of going home for Christmas, if only in our minds,

----- Jim Haskins ----




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