April 27, 1969, Joe Cocker makes his television debut, singing Feelin’ Alright on the Ed Sullivan Show.
There are a few funky piano licks that defined my groove when I was young. Joe Cocker’s version of Feelin’ Alright was definitely one of them — although I never really play anybody else’s lick exactly “as is” probably because once I start playing I can’t remember how they go (what with the ADD and all:) .)
Stevie Wonder on Superstition was the master class in funk. Last year I got to play Superstition with Stevie and Michael McDonald. Stevie played clav, Michael played the motif, and I played a 7 foot Steinway grand (pretty freakin cool)!
Another big influence on me in the funk was my old buddy Kenny Kirkland who passed away in 1998. This brother was the Michael Jordan of piano. He had perfect pitch, a photographic memory, triple jointed hands, and a passion for music that was unsurpassed.
Today, one of favorite funky keyboard players is my buddy Chris Fischer. My son Dylan and I are his biggest fans.