Best Cocktail Pianist

Ricardo Scales

We first encountered Scales at the Redwood Room back in the days when it was still the swankiest saloon in the city, and were as dazzled by his cascading, impressionistic flights of fancy as by the lush surroundings and stellar bar mix. Sometimes he'd pause in the middle of a particularly propulsive improvisational journey and clap his hands in counterpoint, shouting with the pleasure of artistic creation. His witty, inventive minimedleys and gliding combination of delicacy and brio create a mood ideal for the velvet hour of tinkling ice and gilded sunsets. Scales' keyboard skills are especially astounding when you realize that he suffered an injury early on that left three fingers of his left hand virtually useless. Today he has six CDs to his credit and a regular gig at the Top of the Mark, where he redeems even the late-'70s schlock he occasionally finds himself performing. A measure of his talent is that he can make "The Best of Your Love" light, lovely, and somehow meaningful.

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