One member of the staff has been at their post 7 days a week, 24 hours a day - always poised to add a special touch to Rick's ambience, and no sick days either, just that occasional check-up. This is our piano, of course, a French "Pleyel". During the planning of the project I made many trips to Marrakech, and one day during lunch at my favorite hotel, La Maison Arabe, the owner, Fabrizio Ruspoli said he'd introduce me to a friend in Casablanca who could find a piano. That's how I came to meet Bernard Comolet, our piano-man, in the Fall of 2002. He called me a few weeks after and said he'd found something exceptional, and we met at the home of Jean-Daniel Vitalis, a piano teacher. The piano literally filled a room in Mr. Vitalis' house. I thought it was beautiful. Even though the movie piano is a painted upright, I knew I wanted something more sophisticated and Bernard explained that Pleyelwas THE mark of the 40's. Finding the piano a year in advance was a good and bad thing. Good, in that the financial commitment I made protected me from the blinkered bankers ("why do you need a piano when you have a sound system" could have been a reaction if they'd been in a position to veto the purchase), bad in that the project was a year from opening and clearly Mr. Vitalis wanted to use the space. Finally he found someone to store it, and again Bernard came to the rescue as we moved the piano into the restaurant, overseeing the reassembly and tuning after it had been in storage for six months. Issam clearly loved the piano at first touch, and already knew Bernard. Now, on a regular basis Bernard comes and deals with the minor aches and pains of this formidable member of our team, and we're all used to his Saturday morning tuning sessions.
So it's a real treat for us when Bernard comes to Jam Sessions - we get to hear him play real tunes rather than work out the kinks in chords! Bernard literally plays a KEY role in our musical ambience and we surprised him with a Best Usual Jammer certificate at a recent Jam Session