Piano Man

Let music lift YOUR winter-weary mood

Jason Coleman

Jason Coleman

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The Tonto Community Concert Association has just the right remedy for that winter-weary mood. The TCCA will host a performance by Jason Coleman, grandson of the legendary Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Payson High School Auditorium. Single tickets are $35 as available. Children and youth under the age of 18 will be admitted free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. For more information, visit the association Web site at www.tccarim.org or call (928) 478-4363 or (928) 474-4189.

Coleman will be participating in a student outreach performance as part of TCCA’s ongoing commitment to support arts education in Payson.

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Jason Coleman

With the public performance, Coleman continues his family’s tradition in a nostalgic and entertaining tribute to the great work of his famous grandfather.

Floyd Cramer is one of the most admired and beloved instrumentalists of all time. His distinctive touch at the piano — which he called the “slip note” — is so uniquely his that it has become instantly identifiable and widely imitated in country, pop and rock music. Exemplified by his 1960 smash hit, “Last Date,” Cramer’s piano was an essential part of the Nashville Sound during the 1950s and 1960s. His signature style can be heard on the classic songs of countless music legends, among them Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley.

Cramer enjoyed a successful career for more than 40 years as a solo recording artist, session pianist and touring concert performer. His impact on the music industry earned him numerous honors and awards over his lifetime, though none as prestigious as his posthumous inductions into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame in 2003 (he died in 1997).

Coleman is the son of Floyd’s youngest daughter, Donna. Though he was only 12 when his grandfather passed away, the relationship they shared during their short time together fueled Coleman’s innate passion for music and formed a foundation upon which he is building his career.

He has played the piano since he was barely tall enough to reach the keys. At age 5, he started piano lessons and began to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, performing with Cramer on several occasions at his concerts and on national TV.

He debuted on the Grand Ol’ Opry at age 17.

Over the last few years, Coleman has produced a collection of his own albums, including four studio releases and one live concert recording. Then in 2010, after years of headlining local and regional concerts, he embarked on his first-ever nationwide concert tour — The Legacy of Floyd Cramer — bringing his music to more than 70 cities across the United States.

In his concerts, he highlights the far-reaching influence of his grandfather’s “slip notes” as he plays a nostalgic lineup of country, pop and easy listening standards, including many that featured Cramer on the original recordings or were his own self-penned hits.

The Tonto Community Concert Association is committed to bringing quality entertainment to the Rim Country through an annual concert series and support of the fine arts in Payson schools. This series is intended as an enriching cultural experience for the people of Payson and those in surrounding communities.

Only two concerts remain in the 2012-2013 season. Mathew and Gunnar Nelson bring the music of their famous father Ricky Nelson to the Rim Country in Ricky Nelson Remembered at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 2. The Side Street Strutters perform at 7 p.m., Monday, May 6. Both performances are at the Payson High School Auditorium.

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