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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ossie Riani by Peter Riani

My dad was a strange animal indeed. In the late 90’s I put my beloved Fender Rhodes up for sale in the yellow ads paper for £800 and a guy called Sam rang me to make an offer on it but when he found out I was a Riani, such was notoriety of my dad, he asked if I was related to ‘The’ Ossie Riani. I said that I was and he told me the following tale about Desi Lumsden and my dad. It was probably in all likleyhood down at the Shoreline in South Shields (I'm guessing). Anyway, Ossie is playing organ and a bombastic boastful amateur saxophone act turns up to play popular tunes of the day along with the easyplay solo arrangement. Ossie amd Desi offer to do an improvised backing because they both happen to have their MK VI’s with them. Ossie says when I give you the nod you do a solo and when your done lean back and give us a wink and then we’ll give it a go. The guy agrees and imagines how good this will make him look with his own backing musicians on stage. The number starts and Ossie and Desi provide flawless backing as the guy plays the lead and when he gets the nod from Ossie he drops into his basic impro routine. Thinking that he’s pulled a scorcher he winks at the two pros magnanimously and they respond rather unkindly by blasting him off stage with some phenomenal musicianship and corking bebop. The guy starts dismantling his sax on stage while they are still riffing off of each other and has it packed away and is off the stage before the number is up. That story put me off selling the Rhodes, but I still can’t (nor will ever) be able to play it like my dad. Another tale I remember was when he was playing at the Southwick Social Club in Sunderland in the early 70’s. He told us that they had had a belter of a gig and really blasted the Hammond. So much so that it over heated and as is wont to do when so much dust and detritus covers the valves' transformers as it heats up, ignites. There were large flames licking and pouring out the back and my dad played on oblivious because he was reading a score. Bobby Carr noticed first and they ripped the back off the Hammond and were hitting it with beer towels which was making it worse. Ossie played on until someone unplugged the organ. The audience cheered thinking that this was all part of the act. The fire was put out eventually. I can’t remember whether the Hammond was salvageable or not but I do remember my dad saying that someone (probably Joe Greener) was going to throw my dads pint over the flames. Ossie was indignant, not because of the damage it would have done to the Hammond, but because it would have been “a waste of a perfectly good pint”!
Yes saying he was a character is a kind of understatement. I remember Ray playing Laura at his funeral. It was a well cool moment and very touching thanks Ray.
(Original post). Peter Riani.

1 comment :

Lance said...

Thanks Peter - too good to post as a mere comment!

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