Brian Holland, left, Danny Coots, center, and Carl “Sonny” Leyland will “duke it out” on The Bender stage when they bring out their “Dueling Pianos.”

- Dueling Pianos duke it out at The Bender on July 10 -

Prepare for a musical duel, a “boogie-woogie musical treat for the ears” when “Dueling Pianos” duke it out on stage at The Charles Bender Performing Arts Center July 10.

Think of jazz, ragtime, boogie, swing and other pure Americana musical styles performed by two brilliant purveyors of pianistic pyrotechnics.

“Our Humble show at The Bender is our very first concert after the pandemic and we are so excited to be able to perform live,” said Brian Holland, “one third” of the Dueling Pianos trio which also includes Carl “Sonny” Leyland dueling with Holland on piano, while Danny Coots provides the percussion drum beats.

“We are so grateful to Jennifer Wooden for supporting us, for supporting live music, and for bringing us to The Bender,” said Holland. Wooden is the director of the Bender and the Humble Civic Center.

The Dueling Pianos trio will perform at The Bender Saturday, July 10, 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

What can Lake Houston expect?

In the words of Brian Holland, “The Dueling Pianos is a “ … fun, swingin’, two-hour concert featuring boogie-woogie Hall of Famer Carl “Sonny” Leyland, three-time world old-time piano playing champion Brian Holland, and world-renowned jazz drummer Danny Coots.”

Add up the number of years that Holland, Leyland and Coots have been performing, and you will almost reach 100, a surefire testimony to their unique genius.

“The three of us have enjoyed life on the jazz and ragtime festival circuit forever,” explained Holland, “and, in a few venues, we would find two pianos in varying states of tune.”

This gave Holland and Leyland the perfect opportunity to try out new material, especially when drummer Danny Coots was nearby with anything from a full drum set to just a cardboard box.

“Carl is one of the top-rated boogie and blues players in the world, while my focus is more ragtime, stride and swing,” said Holland. “Danny and I have been playing shows together for more than a decade and occasionally we get the chance to play with Carl either live on stage or during an after-hours jam.”

A few years ago, the three decided to record an album. When they left the Nashville studio, “ … we had recorded 80 minutes of the most incredible toe-tappin’, finger-snappin’, head-bobbin’ music this side of the 1930’s,” said Holland.

The LP is called “Old Fashioned,” and that amazing toe-tappin’ sound will be included in their Bender performance.

Danny Coots lives in Nashville. Brian Holland and his wife recently moved there from Dallas. Carl Leyland is a Bakersfield, California resident.

“You can imagine, rehearsal time between the three of us is at a premium,” said Holland. “We can usually be found at a jazz or ragtime festival or a jazz club almost every weekend somewhere in the world. Really. We have performed all over the world. I think Danny’s last count was 109 countries. We have been everywhere, from Rwanda, Africa to, well, Humble, Texas.”

Want a musical preview of the Dueling Pianos at The Bender on July 10? Check out the Basin Street Regulars page on YouTube, “Old Fashioned Boogie: Sonny Leyland, Brian Holland and Danny Coots.”

“We each have our own individual online presence, so there isn’t one specific place to find what you might hear at the Dueling Pianos Show at The Bender,” said Holland. “There are plenty of fan-produced videos out there of the three of us at house parties or festivals but, I promise, our live concert show is a whole different experience.”

Dueling Pianos is July 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased onlineat

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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