Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Johnny Morris Delights Audience At The Steinway Society Jazz Concert

Johnny Morris

Roger King, Drums, Johnny Morris, Piano and Danny Flahive Bass

The Steinway Society of Riverside County presented one of their many concert events at SoCal Pianos in Palm Desert on Sunday January 26th. The Steinway Society of Riverside County was founded in 2002 by Ruth Moir who still is the president of the group. We all know that when times get tough, the first cuts school districts make are in the arts program especially the music programs. Today, most elementary schools have no music in their classrooms. The same is true for many middle and high schools who struggle even to maintain some kind of basic music development program for their students.  This is why The Steinway Society of Riverside County was created to address these problems by providing interactive music education classes, hands-on instrument training and live performance programs designed to engage, educate and inspire children to reach for their dreams. The Society has been extremely successful in achieving their goals with their music programs touching over 20,000 children every year through exposure to music. This is an organization worthy of our support as their entire income is generated through donations. You can make a donation by visiting their web site at:

Performing today was the always wonderful piano player Johnny Morris who brought two other fine musicians with him, Roger King on Drums and Danny Flahive on Bass.  Johnny Morris has been playing for residents in the Valley for years and every time he plays, he just amazes his audiences with not only his great playing ability but his remarkable ability to select the greatest songs out of the "Great American Songbook". In addition, Johnny without the aid of any charts, plays every song requested by his audience. He calls this "Try to stump the piano player". He asks the audience to name any song they want him to play and Johnny has the ability and mental quickness to beautifully play all the songs. Another Johnny Morris secret is that he has the ability to sing the lyrics for most of these songs from memory. In the many times I have heard him perform, I cannot remember anyone stumping the great Johnny Morris. If you have not heard Johnny play recently, you can hear him again at the Backstreet Bistro every Monday night starting a 5:30 PM. He is one of the greatest piano players of standard music living today, and you can hear him right here in the Valley every Monday.

Roger King works as a private lender during the day and then becomes a world-class Drummer in the evenings.  He has a great sense of performance and did an outstanding job today without the benefit of any charts or rehearsals. Roger plays with Carolyn Martinez every Thursday night at Vicky's.  The third member of the group was Bassist Danny Flahive. This is my first experience hearing Danny play and he is nothing short of terrific. Johnny gave Danny lots of room for solos today, and he sparkled.

There were a couple of major-league performers who came by today to support Johnny Morris and the Steinway Society. One of the greatest Harp players playing today, Ron Kalina played a couple of terrific ballads with the trio to the delight of the standing room only crowd. Also performing and having some fun was world famous piano player, Bill Marx. Bill and Johnny played a duet while continually changing seats and it was very funny. Bill is always a treat to hear and is always supportive of any event that helps develop music for children. In addition today was a trio of student Trumpet players who were just a delight. They did a great job of performing the classic "Satin Doll" with the trio.

Ron Kalina

Johnny Morris and Bill Marx

Hannah Morgan, Thomas Nole and Riley Hertz

The President and Founder of The Steinway Society of Riverside County, Ruth Moir

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