At age 89, LIVE IN PALM SPRINGS is Max’s first album. It is a collection of piano selections featuring son Bruce, known as the Creeper, on Harmonica. Bruce’s mastery of the mouth harp is legendary in the industry.
Max began playing piano by ear at age five and learned songs by listening to the rolls on a player piano and from the radio.
At seven he took formal piano lessons for a few years but decided he’d rather play baseball. However, he continued to play piano regularly as he kept learning the tunes to more and more songs.
At eleven, the manager of the neighborhood movie theater asked his parents’ permission to allow him to play piano for the silent movies while the regular pianist was recovering from the flu. For the following ten days Max watched the movies from the pit and improvised music to background the action on the screen. Anyone out there who also had that experience?
During his college days, Max played solo piano in cabarets, cocktail lounges and beer taverns on weekends. His swinging bass style, a form of stride piano, gave dance patrons an easy beat to follow. This style of piano is rarely heard now since small combos and larger bands have percussion instrumentalists that have made the swinging piano bass style relatively obsolete.
At age 85, Max took an interrupted year of jazz piano from Bill Duna at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Only one selection, Misty, in LIVE IN PALM SPRINGS, is played from a memorized chart which was provided during that period by Prof. Duna.
Max has a repertoire of several hundred songs, all learned and played by ear, never having seen the sheet music. LIVE IN PALM SPRINGS, recorded without rehearsal or charts, showcases his stride style and other techniques he employs on ballads and love songs. Some country themes and blues are sprinkled throughout the album as well.
Bruce Kurnow is a multi-instrumentalist who plays harmonica, stringed harp, keyboards and guzheng (Chinese harp). He received four Minnesota Music Awards for his harmonica, harp and keyboard work. Bruce is an active recording artist, performer, composer and producer. He toured and recorded with the country-rock group Mason Proffit, Passage, Lorie Line and as a solo act. Bruce has thirty-six solo recordings to his credit, including five Target Lifescapes recordings. He currently resides in Northern California. Many of his recordings are available at cdbaby.com and on iTunes. For more information, please visit his website at www.brucekurnow.com.