The acclaimed jazz pianist, a former Berkeley resident, has released a new album, “jazz, JAZZ, jazz.” He appears Sunday at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay and Monday at Yoshi’sSan Francisco.
How does “jazz, JAZZ, jazz” differ from your previous albums? This is a standards jazz album and is one for people who really love jazz. This CD represents what I love best about making jazz. Even though me and my bandmates were familiar with all the tunes, when we went into the studio we wanted to do something different with the compositions and have fun with the songs. That’s what we did.
You do a remake of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance” on “jazz, JAZZ, jazz.” What did you think of Hancock snagging the Grammy for Album of the Year? Was that fantastic or what? It certainly validates the power of jazz music and serves as an inspiration to all of us who love it and keep plugging away at making it.
Do you miss your role as music director on “The Arsenio Hall Show”? Those were great days on the show. I do miss them. But I also stay in touch with Arsenio Hall. In fact, he appeared last season as himself on “The Naked Brothers Band” show.
Your wife, Polly Draper, is an actress and your two kids are starring in “The Naked Brothers Band” onNickelodeon. Is the spotlight big enough for all of you? I’m not so sure anymore. My sons Nat  and Alex  are more popular than me now. What started out as a comedy film about a kid’s rock band has turned in to a hit TV show. My wife writes and produces the show.