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ALBUM NOTES

Eight musicians got together and recorded eight songs in eight hours. We chose songs from the 1920’s that had great melodies and good lyrics. I hope you enjoy them.

Richie Cannata, Billy Joel’s saxophonist engineered this album with John Arbuckle and loved these recordings. He congratulated us on doing an amazing job. First time anyone in his studio was able to record so many songs and mix them in one session.

Thanks to Adrian Cunningham for putting the band together and writing the arrangements. Thanks to Martina DaSilva for gracing us with her beautiful voice and great talent. Thanks for the entire band for being on top of their game the entire session.

Thanks to Kim Phelan for putting up with my obsession to be a great musician and all those lonely nights, staying up waiting for me while I was out gigging.

 

 

ENJOY LIFE A show about having fun and staying young! Join Naomi Joy as she talks with interesting people who are making the most of their senior years! Wednesdays at 11am on 88.1fm. Listen on Monday Morning, January 25, 2016 when Naomi Joy conducts  an interesting interview with me about my music and unusual life.

 

 

The Forest Hills Library hosted a piano concert featuring the talented Bill Gati who performed a variety of iconic tunes from legendary films produced in the 20th century. Although Gati has played there several times before, this concert was particularly noteworthy. After opening with his signature piece, “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, which was his mother’s favorite, Gati engaged his audience with a challenge: He said that whoever raised their hand first and answered correctly what film was associated with a particular song he was about to play would receive a free copy of his CD, “Timeless Treasures.” (He had placed about 20 of them on top of the piano.) This excited the crowd of fans that filled the small Auditorium.

But this generous gesture turned out to be only the beginning of what would make this a very memorable concert. A few numbers in, a 94-year-old man named Jacob, who was sitting up front and often attends the Library’s musical events, got up from his seat and started dancing just to the right of the piano. Very agile for his age, he inspired others to join him and they did so, one at a time, with the changing of the songs. At one point, it was decided that each person who won a CD should take turns dancing with him. While this enhanced an already upbeat mood, there was more to come.

After a little prodding, a local artist named Cassandra Hawkins, who was sitting in the back, walked to the front and sang one of Gati’s favorite songs, “People,” from Funny Girl as he played it on the piano. This little impromptu act roused spontaneous applause from the surprised audience which delighted in her pure, angelic voice. Then, suddenly, a hush fell over the room as Gati abruptly changed the mood with a very soulful performance of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. Everyone stepped back in time to reminisce on the stirring, heart-wrenching story behind that song. He had a way of moving people with his music.

He continued on, entertaining the crowd with a broad array of popular melodies and, as he was wrapping up, he asked if there were any requests. There were quite a few and, among the ones he performed, were “The Days of Wine and Roses” from the movie of the same name and “Funny Valentine” from the 1937 Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart musical, Babes In Arms. Just as it seemed the afternoon concert was about to end, a young man by the name of Michael Perlman, who had made his way to the front row, got up and stood to the left of the piano next to Gati. He announced that he wanted to sing “La Vie en Rose” and dedicate it to his mom’s good friend, Denise Webster, who was visiting from England. This was a lot to live up to since this song has been featured in more than 20 films dating back to Stage Fright in 1950 on up to Fred Claus in 2007. Also, Perlman is known in the neighborhood for his work as an historical preservationist and author – not for his singing. Nonetheless, he took command of the stage area and of the song, belting it out at the top of his lungs. Even though it was not his forte, he pulled off an impressive, heartfelt performance that kept in step with Gati’s rhythm on the piano. When they had finished, it was time to go home but nobody wanted to leave; many lingered, spoke with the artists, even partook in photos before exiting the Auditorium.

Gati performed about 20 all-time greats, among them: “As time Goes By” from Casablanca,”Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady, and “Singing in the Rain” from, well, Singing in the Rain. Some of his own favorites included “Cheek to Cheek” from Top Hat, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and the theme song from The Way We Were of the same title.

Gati is well-known in the community. Trained at Juilliard, this piano man also plays a mean saxophone and a number of percussion instruments. In addition to his concerts at the library, you can hear him play at a variety of venues in Queens and elsewhere such as Queens College, the Queens Museum, Flushing Town Hall, and the George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell in Forest Park. He has been known to play in church and is a regular at The Water’s Edge.

Gati has three more concerts coming up at various libraries in Queens before the end of the year. They include a performance of Broadway Show Tunes at the Douglaston Branch on November 18th at 3 PM, and two Christmas Concerts: one at the Whitestone Branch on December 2nd at 2 PM, the other at the Maspecth Branch on December 3rd at 2:30 PM. They are all free to the public.

William Gati – Songs from Classic Motion Pictures (October 17, 2015).
The Forest Hills Library, 108-19 71st Avenue, in Forest Hills.
Running Time: 60 minutes

Teaser: A piano man gives out free CDs to audience members who can guess the classic movies that go with the songs he performs at a local concert.

An “Unforgettable” Valentine’s Day Concert

By Constance Radut

It was a cold, snowy, winter’s eve but that didn’t stop some 75 hardy souls from venturing out to experience Bill Gati’s much anticipated Valentine’s Day piano concert held in our beautiful Sanctuary. Bill, who has been playing since he was five and was trained at Julliard, was well worth coming out for. He started out the evening fielding requests from the excited audience that packed the pews and opened with his signature “Over the Rainbow” which was his mother’s favorite song. He delighted his listeners with a variety of timeless, romantic classics, much of it jazz. People were particularly touched by his own impressive compositions which he threw into the mix.

This piano man was not a one-man show, though. After performing several heart-warming pieces, he invited two of his favorite soloists to accompany him. Our own Cassandra Hawkins had everyone misty-eyed when she broke out with “Misty” and later “How High the Moon.” Susan Horowitz, a friend of Bill’s from The Water’s Edge, treated us to a moving French number, “La Vie en Rose.”

The almost two-hour concert ended way too soon, even after all the encores, which included “Moon River,” “Paper Moon,” and a few other well-known tunes. Besides the memorable solos, some of the highlights were “Unforgettable,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “As Time Goes By”, but it was Bill’s originals that were truly inspired. He put his own twist on some old classics, too, making them fresh and new. Bill shared some stories and interesting tidbits along the way including a Juilliard moment he had when he changed their way of thinking about jazz. He was drawn to Gershwin’s unique approach to jazz and wanted to play his music at Julliard; they said they didn’t do his genre at their school but, when his open-minded teacher gave in to his desire, it took and today Gershwin is part of the school’s curriculum.

It was an enchanting evening and Bill dedicated it not to lovers, but to God. He said he did the concert in honor of God’s love for all of us and that is why he chose the Sanctuary to perform it. Everyone left uplifted but the night was not yet over. A wine and cheese reception prepared by Kim and others, was waiting for them downstairs as well as a long-stem white roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. No one was going to leave this celebration feeling lonely and invisible this Valentine’s Day. It was a great way to end the cold, snowy, evening and, somehow, it didn’t seem so cold outside anymore and the snow had stopped. As people gradually left to go home, they felt warm and loved and went to bed that night knowing somebody cared about them.

 

Pianist Shares Gift of Love on Valentines Day

byMichael Perlman
Feb 17, 2015 | 173 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Bill Gati serenaded neighbors on Valentines Day

Bill Gati serenaded neighbors on Valentines Day

Some of life’s most cherished moments cannot be seen, but heard and felt, which was proved by Kew Gardens resident and piano virtuoso Bill Gati, who made Valentine’s Day in Forest Hills one to remember.

Gati treated his neighbors to a nearly two-hour free concert featuring romantic jazz classics and five original compositions. With the snowfall in sight, 75 concertgoers enjoyed his inspirational sounds at the Church-in-the-Gardens at 50 Ascan Avenue.

“My sweetheart and I are so blessed, and wanted to share the love with others,” Gati said. “Bringing people together is truly wonderful, and there’s no better time than Valentine’s Day.”

Engaging his audience with his sense of humor, Gati opened his show by taking requests. Among the solo numbers were “My Funny Valentine,” “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” “Let’s Fall in Love,” “Unforgettable,” and “Moon River.”

He made sure to extend the spotlight to other talented vocalists including Cassandra Hawkins, who he accompanied on a soulful “Misty” and “How High the Moon,” as well as to Susan Horowitz, who delivered a beautiful rendition of “La Vie en Rose.”

Between compositions, Gati shared some stories.

“I told my piano teacher that I wanted to play Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue,’ and he said we don’t play Gershwin at Juilliard,” he said. “After insisting, I was able to perform it at Lincoln Center because my teacher was progressive in the 1970s. Today, Juilliard has a jazz program.”

At a festive reception organized by Kim Phelan, Sabiha Lakhani and Christian Villarreal, guests enjoyed wine, cheese, and holiday sweets. Each guest also received long-stemmed white roses, boxed chocolate hearts, and handwritten greeting cards. After the concert, Gati participated in a detailed discussion about his craft.

“Music is very soothing to the soul,” said Gati, who hopes to leave an impression on younger generations. “Pursue your passion, but also have a plan B. As much as I love music, I decided to become an architect, which offers a good balance and ensures a steady income.”

His skills as an architect are reciprocal to his musical talents.

“My original piano compositions were in the style of 1920s and 1930s-era jazz, which I feel is the height of American music,” and then compared it to two of his Art Deco favorites, the Chrysler and Empire State buildings.

Gati, 55, began playing at the age of five and later picked up the saxophone at 35. He also mastered the organ, electric keyboard, and the percussion family. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, settled in Middle Village as a small child, and moved to Kew Gardens in 1984.

He attributes his talents to genetics; his grandmother played piano, his father played piano and violin, his brother plays violin, and his grandfather who was an architect in Hungary.

Gati plays throughout Queens, and has given performances at Flushing Town Hall, Queens College and the Forest Park Bandshell, Queens Museum. Philanthropic causes are also part of his mission.

“I volunteer by playing pop-up pianos for Sing for Hope, where musicians perform in hospitals and shelters while raising consciousness about the importance of music,” he said. “I also played at The Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital for terminally ill patients and for several nonprofit organizations.”

Gati will be performing at Long Island City’s Water’s Edge Restaurant on several upcoming Friday and Saturday nights and for free at the Forest Hills Library on April 18, July 18 and October 17. Visit his website at www.apianoman.com for more information.

Read more:Forest Hills Times – Pianist shares gift of love on Valentine s Day

 

Bill’s Shows

Bill Gati and Cassie Hawkins  

Date City Venue Country
Tour: Queens Library Concerts
11/18/17 Flushing, NY Windsor Park Library United States
Time: 1:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 79-50 Bell Blvd. Venue phone: (718) 468-8300.
12/02/17 Fresh Meadows, NY Queens Libraries – Fresh Meadows United States
Time: 2:30pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 193-20 Horace Harding Expy. Venue phone: (718) 454-7272.
12/16/17 Forest Hills, NY Forest Hills Library United States
Time: 3:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 108-19 71st Avenue. Venue phone: (718) 268-7934. Broadway Shows Buy Tickets More information
12/18/17 Ozone Park, NY Queens Library Ozone park United States
Time: 5:30pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 92-24 Rockaway Blvd. Venue phone: 718 845-3127.

Bill Gati and Willa Bassen  

Date City Venue Country
Tour: Queens Library Concerts
12/13/17 Flushing, NY McGoldrick Branch United States
Time: 3:00pm. Admission: free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 155-06 Roosevelt Ave. Venue phone: (718) 461-1616.
12/20/17 Briarwood, NY Briarwood Library United States
Time: 2:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 85-12 Main St, , NY 11435.

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It was a pleasure performing with Antoinette Montague, Paul Beaudry, Mike Campenni, Sam Parker at this wonderful event around the Statue of Liberty. Thanks to Kim Phelan for doing a spectacular job of organizing everything.

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