To my teacher of 23 years, friend of 34 years, to my favorite recording artist, musician, composer and pianist, to my 2nd father, and to one of the most most influential people in my life, I will miss you.
Thank you Dick for all that you have done for so many of us.
Words cannot express how I feel but I will offer up this short tribute in my attempt.
I began studying piano with Dick at the age of 18. After 25 years, Dick asked me to record his music which I gratefully embraced and did. We made solo piano records for Dick for several years. Working late at night 2-3x a week for a couple of years, Sheena’s Song was the first CD followed by You Are The Song. Both solo piano records that represent Dick Hindman’s best work and most heartfelt work to quote Dick himself.
Through the process of recording Dick Hindman and producing his solo piano CD’s over the course of many late nights and several years of production, I finally learned the “meaning of music”. Although I had studied music all of my life and was well into my 40’s when I realized that I had been chasing the meaning of music all of my life, and had not figured it out, until now. And it was Dick who passed that answer along to me. Quite simple, really.
You know when you are done...when you love it 100%.
He said, “you know when you are done (with a piece) when you love it 100%. When you feel like there is not a single note that you would change to love it more. If so, keep searching for the note, until you love it 100%.” But he continued (since he was a great pianist) he said the 2nd part is this, “find a way to write it, and play it, that you completely enjoy. If there is any part in your arrangement that you do not love to play, then find a way to play it so you can enjoy it 100%.”
The meaning of music is write it until you love it, and figure out a way to play it so you can love it. And the key is “you” in this equation. Do it for you and then others will feel that and love it as well. He was right.
Find a way to write it, and play it, that you completely enjoy.
Dick played like this. This rare sincerity all artist’s strive for. Each note came from his heart and bones. He tried to teach this and I am happy I learned this from him before his passing on.
Dick would say in our late night sessions, “You know, in the end, it really comes down to luck!” Referring to both his composition writing and recording of his performances. As odd as this may sound, coming from a man who had internalized classical piano music, and had the technical mastery of many jazz stylings, and whose compositions drew upon Rachmaninoff, JS Bach, and Bill Evans, I understand what Dick meant. He would say he never knew when his best ideas were going to appear. Some days, they didn’t come. Other times his best songs flowed out. It wasn’t easy. But I am glad he kept trying and as a result Dick has left us some great music for all generations to enjoy.
Dick battled with medical conditions recently and about a year ago, one medical condition almost took him from us. He slowly recovered from that episode and had started playing the piano again. at this time, Dick emailed me and said he had found an old trio recording that we had recorded about 10 years ago at “the Ranch” as he called it, my private studio featuring his favorite Yamaha S6 piano prepared by his favorite technician, the late Fred Allen. Dick had rejected the record at the time of the recording and made me erase all of the files! And he wanted to witness the erasing so no-one would ever hear this record that he said he was not happy with. Well, this last year Dick emailed me and said, “You remember that record I had you erase?” I said yea. He said, “I kept a copy!” He had kept a copy after taking it from my hard drive and backups!
You know, in the end, it really comes down to luck!
Well as recently as 3 months, Dick and I began editing his favorite tracks from that unknown last trio recording session. He picked his takes and was in the middle of sending me his edit notes when he passed. Luckily, there’s that ‘luck” word again, he sent me his original hi res copies of his favorite takes.
Dick was working on his final edit notes to complete the trio record just before he died. Dick said “I will send you my notes in a few days once I finish my score for my son John’s new film”. He was scoring a film for his son who lives and works in Hollywood.
Well, Dick, I’m happy to finish up these tracks for you without your notes. I’m sure you will be happy in Heaven and will assist in any way that you can.
I will call this record, The Lost Recordings
This represents Dick’s last recording with his favorite trio, the great drummer Colin Bailey and bassist Seward McCain. With guest appearance by bassist Glen Richmond.
Dick, we all love you man, and will miss you but never forget what you gave back to all of us.. Carry on.
This record is dedicated to you and Sheena.