During these years, he was very involved with not only music, but the musical side of theater as well. He served as a musical director for several Chicago-based companies. Playbill Magazine had noted the success of Greg’s musical direction and performances even when storylines had failed to impress. Greg also performed, wrote music, and served as a rehearsal pianist with some cast members from Cameron Mackintosh’s first national U.S. Tour of ‘Miss Saigon.’
An Experience College Could Not Provide
However, it was his involvement at Chicago’s infamous “Jazz Showcase” that seemed to forge a unique path that would inspire and motivate him for years to come. As a bartender at Joe Segal’s establishiment (while it existed at the Blackstone Hotel,) Greg was able to spend a lot of personal time with many jazz legends.
Setting up the bar turned out to be the highlight of his nights as he spent one-on-one time talking about music and learning from jazz legends such as Tommy Flanagan, Joe Williams, Ray Brown, Diana Krall, Bennie Green, and many more. This experience alone, provided an education that could not be found at any College or University.
“I love to play pop/rock music,” says Greg. “But everytime I feel like I’m getting stale, I revisit jazz theory, learn something new and reinvent what I’ve been playing.”
With some advice of his Jazz Piano Instructor (but mostly on a whim,) Greg headed to Japan where a frenzy of opportunities awaited.
An Overseas Hiatus
Wasting no time at all, he jumped in with several bands in the Osaka area and joined a talent agency. He was soon performing for several events, making regular TV appearances with Japanese celebrities and jumping in for odd modeling jobs here and there. Despite the busy activity, Greg claims that it was nothing more than being a foreigner in the right place at the right time. However, as things wound down and he prepared to return to the US, and began focusing on how he would kick start a career in the US. Greg began his own company, Music Forte, which has been selling sheet music, instruments and gear for several years now.
After establishing some financial security through his business, he began exploring the live music scene once again, and soon made some great connections. Aside from playing with bands, and doing studio work, he now performs as a solo musician and dueling pianist. Of that experience, he says, “I finally got a clear understanding of who I was as a performer, and realized I had so much to accomplish. There are many players that entertain so well with their versatility and humor, but lack in piano/vocal ability. On the other side of the spectrum, there are musicians with extraordinary musical talent, who fail to rouse a crowd. It’s tough work to find that balance. I want to perform at my best as a pianist/vocalist and also as an entertainer who can engage and amuse a crowd. ”
Greg is now a part of the Felix and Fingers Dueling Piano Association, which he feels does a fantastic job of bridging the performance, comedy, and musical talent all together.
Finding His Stride
With that in mind, Greg has since dedicated his time and passion striving to play great music while delivering a performance that is just right for any particular venue or crowd. His versatility has opened the doors to many opportunities. He has sat quietly at the piano, playing background jazz, and he has jumped into the rough biker clubs playing and singing popular rock songs and crowd favorites. He has been invited to play at several corporate events, private parties and weddings. No matter where he plays, he is very conscious of the crowd and venue he is performing for to ensure that his performance meets and surpasses the expectations of those who he performs for.
These days, Greg spends most of his time as a solo performer, but also plays regularly in a duo and trio band with some outstanding musicians from Galesburg, IL. If you are interested in booking Greg for your event or establishment, you can do so directly from this website or you may contact him using the contact form.
Read Greg’s personal post about his influences and favorite artists…