Wayne Egan—Featured Pianist at Log Haven
Wayne began playing piano at age nine. After four years of lessons, the repertoire offered seemed stale. In junior high school, distracted somewhat by the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, he began learning about jazz and took two years of instruction in keyboard harmony. Something clicked, and he discovered an emerging talent for improvisation. Most jazzers are self-taught, drawing on one another as models. Jazz piano freed Wayne from the “autopilot,” restrictive, classical convention by which one assesses a pianist’s proficiency by whether and how he plays the written notes. Around 1960 he discovered that jazzers were valued as artists eager to experience the birth of something unique and unmediated, something often unfathomable to non-jazzers.
He entered Utah State on a music scholarship and played piano with the Scotsmen Jazz Band. Through the years his jazz-piano style has gradually emphasized learning the great American songbook over playing bebop, blues, and pop. He has devoted untold hours to performing pensive and swinging improvisations on the standards of the great American songwriters—Gershwin, Ellington, Berlin, Mercer, McHugh, Rodgers, Porter, Warren, Arlen, Van Heusen, Kern, Carmichael, et al. An early fondness for Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Kelly, and Thelonious Monk gave way to a lively interest in the new musical language of Bill Evans, George Shearing, Keith Jarrett, Ellis Larkin, Oscar Peterson, Fred Hersch, and Bill Charlap—pianists adept at breaking down a standard in a beautiful, Marcel Duchamp way.
Wayne is pleased to offer Log Haven diners renditions of the standards that unfold slowly and deliberately with rich harmonies, improvising in and out of the melodies with only scant awareness of where it will lead. He is well versed in the best songs of many Broadway musicals, and if so prompted, he also delights in singing about the vicissitudes of love as offered in the lyrics of a Johnny Mercer, Larry Hart, or Cole Porter standard. Perhaps he knows your favorite song; he does take requests, so why not find out?