This week’s “Art’s World” is very special to me, It is about music. My father played sax and clarinet with the big bands and also had his own band. I sang and acted in high school musical productions. During my time in the Air Force I broke into radio and began 20 plus years as a radio deejay, concert promoter and talent agent. I also authored a book titled “When Swing Was King” (available through Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com)
In doing research there were a few actors I knew were also accomplished musicians. Then I found some who I was very surprised to learn how accomplished they were as musicians. With that in mind and so many to bring your way, this will be a two part series. Here are the first five in Part One.
Jack Lemmon – We all know Jack Lemmon from classic movies like “Some Like it Hot, “The Apartment” and so many more. His pinpoint timing and reactions on screen mad every Lemmon scene special. But he was also a very gifted piano player and even recorded an album back in 1959 titled “A Twist of Lemmon” featuring him on piano and some vocals (I still have that LP). He could do jazz, ballads and just about any style. The amazing thing is he could not read a note of music. If you want to see the musical talents of Jack Lemmon go here: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Jack+lemmon+playing+piano+vodeos&&view=detail&mid=61234063C4561FEE28F161234063C4561FEE28F1&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DJack%2Blemmon%2Bplaying%2Bpiano%2Bvodeos%26qpvt%3DJack%2Blemmon%2Bplaying%2Bpiano%2Bvodeos%26FORM%3DVDRE
Charlie Callas – A very funny standup comedian, Charlie Callas was a fixture in Las Vegas and became a big hit on TV. Aside from his Vegas gigs, he was a frequent guest of Johnny Carson, the Dean Martin roasts and many other variety and comedy shows. But music was always his first love. He played drums with a couple of the big bands at the end of the swing era. Charlie always had a flair for comedy and kept his fellow musicians laughing when they travelled. When the drum gigs became sparse, he turned to comedy, but never gave up his love of the drums. Here is Charlie Callas with a full symphony orchestra doing an amazing drum solo to the “Grand Canyon Suite”. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Charlie+Callas+playing+drums+vodeos&qpvt=Charlie+Callas+playing+drums+vodeos&FORM=VDRE
Dustin Hoffman – Talk about an award winning career, Dustin Hoffman has done just about everything in films. “Tootsie”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “Rain Man”, “The Graduate” and on and on. While his full range of acting talents have always been on display, his musical talent has remained in the background. But this amazing actor is also a very accomplished pianist and finally got to show off his musical talent in the movie, “Last Chance Harvey”. Check out these two clips of Dustin Hoffman the pianist: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Dustin+hoffman+playing+piano+vodeos&&view=detail&mid=2032178F7693658DAD2A2032178F7693658DAD2A&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DDustin%2Bhoffman%2Bplaying%2Bpiano%2Bvodeos%26qpvt%3DDustin%2Bhoffman%2Bplaying%2Bpiano%2Bvodeos%26FORM%3DVDRE
Steven Seagal – The big 6’ 4” hulk is known as an actor, screenwriter, producer, and martial artist. He has also had his scrapes with the law, but during the 1980’s rose to fame with his tough guy films like “Above the Law”, “Out for Justice” and “Under Siege”. He did a number of TV shows including his own reality series on A&E. In addition to his films, TV appearances, martial arts demonstrations there is one other part of Seagal that has been pretty much hidden, his proficiency as a musician as a top flight guitarist. Playing guitar has always been a part of Seagal’s life and his collection of guitars is incredible to say the least. But as far as musicianship, he is simply fantastic and has a style that is amazing. Check out this video that shows off Steven Seagal’s talents as a guitarist: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Steven+Seagal+Plays+Guitar&&view=detail&mid=D26C66D1EC99E75AE4C8D26C66D1EC99E75AE4C8&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DSteven%2BSeagal%2BPlays%2BGuitar%26FORM%3DVDMHRS
Clint Eastwood – The first thing that comes to mind is TV’s Rawhide, spaghetti westerns, “Dirty Harry” and action films. In his later years he became known also as a top director of hit films like “Million Dollar Baby”, “Bridges of Madison County”, “Space Cowboys” and many more. Then there are all the awards he has won over the years, but there is one more part of his life that has pretty much stayed in the background. That is his proficiency as a musician, song writer and arranger. He has written and arranged the music for many of his films and others. He is an extremely talented pianist and can really jazz it up. For an example of the Clint Eastwood musical talents check this out; https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Clint+Eastwood+playing+piano+videos&docid=608033727684216289&mid=07809C0BF56730D57A5507809C0BF56730D57A55&view=detail&FORM=VIRE
I hope you enjoyed this edition of “Art’s World” and a look at the musical side of these five actors. They are just a few of a long list of other actors and actresses who sing, play musical instruments and do it extremely well. We will be back with Part Two in the near future. In the meantime enjoy this and feel free to share it with friends and we welcome your feedback and comments. Enjoy your day.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN