Washington, DC area pianist Al Baes knows the challenges of the gigging musician. He has been playing classical music since he was five, studied jazz at the University of Maryland College Park, has played around the DC area for more than two decades and is the keyboardist for the R&B jazz group Soul-Rhythm.
“One of my most memorable performance on stage that I had the pleasure to jam with was the group, Heatwave. This was back in 1997 in Virginia. We did their popular tune “Always and Forever.” They had happened to drop by a nightclub where I was performing with my band,” Baes recalls.
This holiday season, Baes is trying something new.
On Sunday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. Baes will play on a virtual performance platform called StageIt. With StageIt, performers set a date and time for their show and sell tickets to a one-time-only event. All a fan needs to do is buy a ticket and log on at the appointed time. Performances are not archived; they happen once, just like a show you would travel to attend. StageIt also allows concert viewers to tip the performers during the show, using a credit card or PayPal account. Any type of musical genre is welcome.
“I only discovered StageIt a couple of weeks ago and thought of just trying it out,” said Baes. “Actually this first performance is just an experiment. I am just trying to see how it goes.”
Baes says his show “A Paradise Experience” will be short-- just 30 minutes -- and “will consist of some of my own original material which I use in piano lounge settings. I am also bringing some cover tunes as well.”
In the spirit of the holidays, Baes has decided to donate any proceeds from Saturday night’s performance.
“Since the StageIt broadcast service requires payment from viewers, and since my objective is not to make money from this, I decided to forward the funds to a charitable entity, DC Central Kitchen. Viewers can pay what they can using a credit card or debit card.”
What does he think about a virtual concert venue?
“I think this online broadcast service is a great idea especially since it’s really hard for musicians to find venues to perform their music, and also (it gives you) the opportunity to gain exposure and to promote (your) material.”
Some of Baes’ favorite musicians include Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, Bobby Caldwell, Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, and Grover Washington, Jr. They are likely to influence his performance on Sunday.
The other day, a friend on Facebook used the term “couch gravity” to describe the reason why he didn’t attend as many live musical performances as he’d like. I love the idea of attending a live performance and supporting the musicians you love from your couch. You could even start a mosh pit in your living room.
To attend “A Paradise Experience” on Sunday night, follow this link.
To view Baes’ profile in StageIt go to this link.
The Facebook event page for this show is at this link.