Anschell's Cooler Heads and minor keys

Composer/pianist Bill Anschell is one of those lucky musicians who works almost all the time. Unfortunately for fans, most of those gigs are private events that are not open to the public.

Anschell, who celebrates the release of his third CD, When Cooler Heads Prevail, this week, came to Atlanta in 1989 from Seattle. He had a day job at the Southern Arts Federation, but his goal was to be a full-time musician. By 1993 he was doing just that, thanks to his willingness to play all types of gigs, public and private.

"Atlanta is a good place to make a living as a musician," Anschell explains, "if you're really flexible and don't let pride get in your way. I realized that I would rather play the cheesiest gig than sit behind a desk."

Expect no cheese when Anschell plays Libby's Caberet Nov. 7. Anschell is excited about the setting, its acoustics and the chance to actually play a piano. "It's a rare opportunity for me to play all my original stuff on a real piano," he says. "So many gigs, you have to play on a keyboard. It's an inferior substitute, but after a while it becomes the reality of it."

Much of Cooler Heads is written in a minor key, Anschell explains. It's delicate and understated, but not somber, thanks to a variety of rhythms and percussive elements. Included are "Dear Old Stockholm," a traditional Swedish folk tune, the South American "Lor Flor de la Canela" and the traditional spiritual, "Angels Watching Over Me." Five of the 10 tunes are Anschell originals.

Anschell is releasing the CD through the Arizona-based Summit label, which can provide national distribution and marketing to help Anschell reach beyond local pay-the-bills private gigs. "It's important to me to have my music heard by a lot of people around that country," Anschell says. "CDs are my one statement about the music that I play and care about."

Bill Anschell performs at Libby's Cabaret Wed., Nov. 7. Anschell also performs with the Joe Gransden Trio every Sunday at Veni Vidi Vici and every other Monday at Comeaux's in Alpharetta.??