When I was younger, I felt my mother was made of music. She also taught kindergarten, special education classes, taught teachers, led children’s choirs, gave piano lessons, vocal coached, and conducted many a school production. She played in the church in her earlier years. With all of that, she was often called upon to be the accompanist. She loved accompanying singers, especially. Having read The Unashamed Accompanist by Gerald Moore, she lived for his words of wisdom. In the forward to the German edition of the book, these words rang strongly for her: “There is no more of that pale shadow at the keyboard; he is always an equal with his partner.”
The accompanist truly builds a world within which the accompanied lives and thrives. A safe creative space of nurture, respect, and care. Often assumed to just be support, the player or partner is at once a coach, cheerleader, arranger, conductor, and musical sustenance in every musical moment.
Lou Pomanti is the consummate accompanist — and accompanied artist’s partner. He is the artist in step and the safe-space builder. His is a presence not unlike the famed Paul Sith, once upon a grand time accompanying Ella Fitzgerald. The artistry is the giving to the piano keyboard power as a voice, with the voice, lending character that matches the performer out front — joining them without stealing or robbing; caring, nurturing and sustaining all at once, and at the same time enticingly in step in every single moment of creativity.