At 62 Tim McInnes felt pursuing his musical ambitions had become now or never. He revisited his childhood Schaum method piano training and began to diligently practice. “I was pretty good as a kid, but not exactly Glenn Gould. Thank God I wasn’t a child prodigy,” he told me, “that would have ruined my life at an even earlier age.”
Inspired as a Windsor Ontario youth by Pat Flowers, the Boogie Woogie man of Detroit, Mcinnes had several early career run-ins with the music industry which culminated in his writing reviews and musician profiles for Spotlight Magazine. Eventually though he needed to get a “real job” in order to support a growing family.
Once he was retired and comfortably back at the piano bench McInnes spent a year performing for Alzheimer’s patients two or three times a month. After a lifetime of interest in jazz and classical music he found himself drawn to entertaining his small crowds with ragtime and old timey numbers. He also had some musical ideas that had floated around his mind for decades. He began putting them down on paper.
Over the course of several months in 2017 McInnes recorded an album with the help of Tim Schwindt, a JUNO nominated recording engineer whose studio was only a block away. The album features eight original compositions, four Jelly Roll Morton tunes, and closes with Stephen Foster’s Swanee River.
There aren’t many people out their writing new rags and all of their efforts need to be celebrated. To see the form as something that can still be used to convey a personal message about yourself, as Tim McInnes attempts to do on this album, is a rare thing. He isn’t a spectacular pianist, and he isn’t interested in gigging anymore, but the original compositions on Selfie are worth taking a look at.