A Little Bit Closer

After Dark

Alone With You

Always With You

Angel

Another Life

Bailando

Ballad Of The Little  General

Birthday Day Blues

Best Of Times

Canoli Man

Coconut Waltz

December Love

Desert Mind

Donít You Ever

Donít You Ever Lose It

Dreams

Driviní Me Wild

Early Life

Ellisa

Funky Monkey

Get A Life

Girl In My Dreams

Give Her Love

Hanginí

I Feel Glad

I Got Your Number

I Wish You Were Mine

Iím A Dreamer

If Your Lookin For Love

Island Stomp

Jamaica

Jazz Por Favor

Jessica

Joy Town

Las Estrellas En Tus Ojos

Letís Start Over

Little People Waltz

Loretta

Love Me

Loviní and Liviní

Loviní You Is What I Do

Makiní Time For Love

Mi Casa

My Family

My Time

Never Stop Loviní You

Never Been

Never Go Back

Never Gonna Leave You

Never Too Late

Our Love Will Stay

Perros Calientes

Please Donít Love Me

Sheís Good For Me

So Glorious

Somethin To Do

Sometimes Iím Crazy

Song To Sing

Star Dance

Still In Love With You

Sun Down

Suntan Man

This is My Life

Tortoise Shuffle

Toucan Play

Under A Moonlit Sky

Wanna Have Fun With You

We Canít Lose

Weíll Be Alone Oo-La-La

Welcome To My Island

When Iím With You

When We Not Together

Winters End

You Make A Difference In My Life


Michael Drake At The Piano

 ďI love entertaining,Ē says Michael Drake. No one who ever saw him in person would argue the point. A prolific recording artist with nearly a dozen albums to his credit, Drake began as a jazz trumpeter but branched out into Latin and Caribbean-flavored ďisland musicĒ along with childrenís shows. Never less than fully animated, Drake is a percolating coffee pot of highly caffeinated ideas. Recently, he took up a Wednesday residency on piano at a long-running West Side restaurant, Pitchís Baby Grand, 11320 W. Bluemound Road. Drake entertains from 7:30 p.m. to whenever.

 

No band? No trumpet? Just solo piano?

Just me and the baby grand with no sequencers. Iíve always loved Billy Joel and the great piano songsters. And Iíve repurposed my island music for this gig as romantic musicóballads. But itís still all done with an entertainment attitude. Itís all about the stories. I tell stories in song. By changing my format to piano, Iím setting the stories in different places.

 

What do you play at Pitchís on Wednesdays?

It all depends on whoís there. I might noodle and create the wallpaper if the mood is quiet. An entertainer has to read the audience. It can go in any possible direction. Without sequencers, I can change the character of the song Iím playing on the spot. If someone wants to come up and sing a Beatles song, Iíll accompany him. Iíve got a repertoire of 150 Beatles songs.

 

You take requests?

Iíve got a song list sitting on the piano, 400-500 songs. Iíve got them categorized. Itís all part of the entertainment thing. An entertainer cannot be selfish. Iím pouring my heart out on that song for the person who requests it!

 

How long have you been making a living at music?

That depends on what you mean by making a living! I played my first paid gig in 1967. I delivered the Chicago Tribune for 15 years. Finally, I was able to get rid of the day job in the early í90s.

 

Have audiences changed over the years?

Thereís been a change in receptability. More and more people donít know what entertainment is. Itís a conversation! Back when I played weddings, Iíd have everyone in the palm of my hand. I still do, but itís more work. People arenít used to seeingentertainers in person any more. Being an entertainer is a one-on-one relationshipóa rapport. You canít get that from a TV screen.