Ryan Hanseler's All-Star Farewell Performance | Beyu Caffe | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Ryan Hanseler's All-Star Farewell Performance 

When: Thu., April 23, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $15-$17



BEYU CAFFE, DURHAM—Ryan Hanseler attacks the piano like a cagefighter; in fact, he is one. When Hanseler is not teaching jazz or gigging six nights a week, he trains and coaches cagefighting, kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Hanseler's teachers at N.C. Central, where he earned his master's degree in jazz, remember him as a study in contrasts. Though often bruised from combat, his hands were delicate on the keys. Hanseler's mentors sensed an untapped potential and lobbied him to apply his more aggressive side to the piano.

"That came from Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo. Branford was like, 'Let me get this straight: You beat people up in a cage, but you come out and play like a 5-year-old girl?'" recalls Hanseler. "Joey goes, 'Look man, I want you to come out and play the piano like you're trying to kill someone with it.' Then it clicked in my head."

After graduating, Hanseler joined the ranks of the Triangle's first-call jazz musicians, playing with Marsalis, John Brown, Brian Miller, James "Saxsmo" Gates, Al Strong and Kobie Watkins. This week, many of those peers gather to say goodbye to Hanseler, at least for now. He soon departs for Amsterdam, where his wife, Julie, has accepted a three-year post with Philips.

"It's been a humbling experience, because you find out people actually have been listening," Hanseler says. "All of a sudden you realize just how many friends you have."

One of those pals is the bassist Brown, who employs Hanseler as his primary piano player.

"We don't play without smiling," Brown explains. "Bass players and piano players must share very intimate space in the music. Ryan and I quickly found that we had a similar approach, and we grew together. I will miss that." 7:30 & 9 p.m., $15–$17, 335 W. Main St., Durham, 919-683-1058, www.beyucaffe.com. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

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