When it comes to star power, Terry Disley has worked among the brightest lights.
Local residents might recognize Disley from his consistent presence behind the keys at the Miramar Beach Restaurant. But Disley’s discography spans decades. Originally from the United Kingdom, he became a standout pianist and composer. From opening for Bob Dylan to playing with Roger Daltry of The Who and David Gilmore of Pink Floyd to recording with Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Disley has been alongside some of the most well-known names in the music industry.
That’s because Disley is a true music savant and has a passion for a multitude of musical styles. But it’s jazz that captured his imagination. Twelve years ago, Disley became inspired by the music of “The Nutcracker,” an 1892 two-act ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It was the suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that got the wheels turning inside Disley’s head and led him to create his “Jazzcracker” album in 2007.
“I wasn’t really a fan, but I loved the music. I was looking for new material to play, rather than play ‘Jingle Bells’ and all the same old stuff everybody plays at Christmas,” Disley said.
Disley and his group, The Disley Experience, will play a sold-out performance of his original “Jazzcracker” as the final 2019 show of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society fall series at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Disley’s handpicked members include Tod Dickow on sax, clarinet and flute, Erik Jekabson on trumpet, Gary Brown on bass, Russ Gold on drums, guitarist Lorn Leber, and percussionist Marquinho Brasil.
He said the style of Tchaikovsky’s music lends itself well to a jazz arrangement. Disley played this very album at the Bach five years ago, the last time he played at the venue. He’s a big fan of the historic Bach.
“You’ve got these fantastic Tchaikovsky melodies played with some great jazz musicians,” Disley said. “I think sometimes people who are not jazz aficionados get lost in the heavy jazz and improvisation, but this is very accessible music.”