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Pianist blends off-beat humor, beautiful music
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Steve Jade makes beautiful piano music out of most any tune on the radio. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

0710PianoAUD

Steve Jade plays Blue Peach Boulevard

Steve Jade decides his play list by taking what is popular from Top 40 radio, or even a TV theme song. And if you are expecting Jade to be a guitarist or the lead vocalist of a band, you're wrong.

Jade is an eccentric professional pianist who plays classic rock or rap songs that he's adapted to the piano. Then he adds in his own brand of humor and off-beat wit.

"I try to keep current; anything that catches my ear, even if it's a commercial on TV," said Jade, who grew up in Connecticut but is now a Buford resident. "I like a group called Blue October; I like Nickelback.

"I just want people to have a good time. When it's crowded it's like a big party and is effortless."

The piano player, who plays by ear, plays new hits like Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and Sarah Bareilles' "I Want to Write You a Love Song," plus throws in selections from rock band Buckcherry and even Atlanta rappers Outkast.

"A lot of stuff translates well to the piano and people just think it's pretty," he said. "It's hard now because so much that is popular is rap, which is essentially talking to music.

"But I think to stay in this business you have to be adaptable."

Elliot Mousseau, a server at Luna's, said Jade is one of the most popular entertainers at the night spot.

"He plays everything," Mousseau said. "Everyone in there loves him; every time I get a call and I say that Steve's playing they always want to book. You can request any song and he's gonna know it."

Jade has added a new game to his repertoire called Name that Tune, to get people in the audience more involved.

"You spin the wheel and it lands on a category," he said. "I know so many songs from way back when to current, then I play a song from that category and you try and guess it. If you guess it, you win a prize."

Categories include Songs with a Color in the Title, Songs with a City in the Title, Songs from TV and the Fabulous 50s.

Along with Luna's, Jade plays occasionally at Grapes & Hops Bar and Bistro in Flowery Branch, the Dillard House in Dillard on holidays and the Chattahoochee Country Club. He also plays at the World Congress Center with Ron Adwaters in a group called AM PM.

"He (Adwaters) got me into Motown and R&B, stuff I had never really delved into before," Jade said.

At an early age, Jade learned to play the piano and was interested in the instrument because of pop music at the time.

"When I was a kid all these guys were coming out like Billy Joel and Elton John and the piano became cool again," he said.

But that was not the first instrument Jade played.

"The accordion was my first instrument; it had a keyboard so I was halfway there," he added with a laugh.

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