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Thirty fingers of doom

Kenny‚"Blues Boss"‚Wayne, David Vest, and D.K. Stewart pull up the piano bench Jan. 11 at Jazzbones

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There, Bobble Tiki said it.

While Bobble Tiki would like to consider himself above snickering like a junior high boy every time he hears the title “pianist,” that’s just not Bobble Tiki. Bobble Tiki’s the kind of tiki who will forever think passing gas is funny, and find equal humor in words that sound like genitalia. It’s just the way it is, and Bobble Tiki sees no sense in hiding it.

This being the case, Bobble Tiki’s coverage of the “Pianorama” concert at Jazzbones Friday, Jan. 11 is more challenging than most assignments. All week Bobble Tiki has had pianist on the mind, and he’s beginning to wonder about himself. Bobble Tiki’s been researching pianists, thinking about pianists, e-mailing pianists, and writing about the fact that three of the biggest pianists in the Northwest will be at Jazzbones for “Pianorama” next week. If Bobble Tiki looked at one more pianist on the Internet this week he may have exploded.

The pianists coming to Jazzbones are Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, David Vest, and D.K. Stewart. Each of them is based in the Northwest, and will be backed by the Paul Delay Band’s rhythm section. It will be a night of piano magic featuring solo performances from all three, duets, and a huge pianist threesome at the climax.

The press release Bobble Tiki received from Jazzbones referred to Stewart, Vest and Wayne as “Three Grand Masters of Boogie-Woogie Piano.” In fact, it was the very subject line that attracted Bobble Tiki to this show. By themselves, each pianist has an impressive resume. Together as a pianist package, the three hot pianists should leave your mouth agape.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, “There’s no boogie woogie blues piano man out there today who pounds the 88s with the conviction of Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne.” The statement is just one of many critical compliments Wayne has garnered. He’s a Juno Award winner for Best Blues Recording and Living Blues Magazine has applauded Wayne for “bringing the piano back to the front of contemporary Blues.”

While you may recognize D.K. Stewart’s name from his three solo projects, chances are slightly better you recognize Stewart’s chops from his New Orleans style recordings with famous blues men like Robert Cray, Paul DeLay, Curtis Salgado and Lloyd Jones. Also of note, in a world where pop culture is king, is Stewart’s association with the Eugene Nighthawks, who are known for jamming with a still living Jim Belushi in the ’70s and providing the inspiration for the Blues Brothers.

Topping off the pianist trifecta is David Vest, who Bobble Tiki came to know during Vest's time in the Paul Delay band — where he shared vocal duties and generally manipulated the keys like few alive. Vest has been gigging since the ’50s, performed with Big Joe Turner in the ’60s, and has shared a stage with the likes of Floyd Dixon, Lavelle White, and Jimmy T99 Nelson.

By a shear stroke of luck, Bobble Tiki caught up with Vest this week to ask him about all things “Pianorama” and generally pick the head of one of the most significant pianists Bobble Tiki has ever had the good fortune of corresponding with.

“We wanted to remind people that the blues isn’t just about guitar players and harmonicas. There was a time when the music was really ruled by piano players — people like Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Katie Webster, Amos Milburn, Professor Longhair, Charles Brown, and Floyd Dixon. Not to mention Allen Toussaint, Ray Charles, and Dr. John,” says Vest of “Pianorama.”

“The idea isn’t novel. There’s been a piano night between weekends of New Orleans Jazz Fest for years. In this part of the world there have been collaborations of harmonica guys, women blues belters, guitar slingers, but not of boogie woogie pianists. The reason for any of these collaborations is to put people in new combinations, see what fireworks result.

“At Jazzbones people will get a little taste of each of the three individually, then in various combinations, with all three of us pumping away together in a grand finale. It will be a really dynamic show, ranging from full-on boogie woogie assault to New Orleans Professor Longhair to Chicago blues a la Otis Spann.”

A la fantastic!

Pianorama will hit Jazzbones Friday, Jan. 11. Bobble Tiki is giving you a full week’s notice, so if you miss this one it’s on you. It’ll be more pianists than you ever dreamed of.

Sometimes, when Bobble Tiki is feeling particularly uninspired, he looks through past issues of the Weekly Volcano for clever ways to conclude his column. It never works. The end of Bobble Tiki’s column always comes down to one simple fact: Bobble Tiki doesn’t know you and doesn’t care what you do this week. That’s been the message since day one. If Bobble Tiki is anything, it’s consistent. Check out every Tuesday, Thursday ans Saturday for Breakfast with Bobble Tiki, and keep in mind nine out of 10 doctors say it’s the most important meal of the day.

[Jazzbones, Friday, Jan. 11, 9 p.m., $10, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169]

Bobble Tiki is going out of his head via e-mail at and www.myspace. com/bobbletiki

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