Growing up I didn’t realize how immersed in music I was. I used to “devour” the album credits on my mom’s album covers, like Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly, The Carpenters, L.T.D., and Bill Withers Still Bill. We danced to “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp, to a strobe light my mom purchased. It was crazy dancing to a strobe. Every move looked good! My mom’s creativity and musical taste was her own.
Our Dad spoon-fed us the music of artists like Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe. To my eyes, La Gran Fuga was an actual FBI wanted poster. The triangle and conga intro to “Ghana’e “is still classic! My dad and his friends would play at the park and often in our back yard. At times, he also would play percussion for other professional musicians such as Arthur Porter, Gene “The Jug” Ammons or his local band, Natural Finish. I listened to groups like Queen on WLS radio so my music world was Soul, Rock, Gospel, Folk, Latin Jazz, Funk etc…
My grand parents had a living room, that included that typical plastic covered couch, but most importantly an old upright piano. My grandma Arizona Scott Lisco would play gospel music, Stride style.
My grandpa “Poppa” Lawrence Lisco played piano for the bootleggers in Chicago, during the 1920’s. He would play more jazzy songs for us. One thing they always did was to allow my cousins and I to play that upright. My cousins would tinker around, but the Peanuts theme “Linus and Lucy” was the main challenge for me and my cousin Brian. But, we managed to get the left hand part down.
We were noisy back in the day, but my grandparents hardly cared about that noise.
And that’s how I tried to raised my own family: Flash forward 20+ years…
Our kitchen floor was booming many a day and night, from both of my older sons and their friends, sonic creations in our basement. I liked that I knew where they were, even though it was hectic especially when dealing with my youngest two. One of my sons music career has been pretty successful. His stage name is Sango. He’s an artist with the Internet label Soulection.
Photo Cred: Sango
..and thanks to the information age I can scratch off one item from my bucket list: Play piano by ear. I finally taught myself to really play the piano, by ear by using the system by Jermaine Griggs and the Hear and Play family.