Johnny O'Neal and I met at Clifford Murphy's old jazz club, Murphy's Place, in downtown Toledo back in the summer of '09 when we were both playing to raise money for Clifford, trying keep the place going in the face of the hard times. There were two stages running; one in a tent in the parking lot and the regular Murphy's stage indoors. O'Neal had been pianist for Clifford Murphy's group, "The Murphy's", for several years before moving on to play with the elite of the jazz world and he had come to help his old friend and mentor. Clifford and Claude Black had told me a lot of stories about him, but I had never heard him play, so when I finished my set out in the tent, I went inside to catch the end of the jam session that was closing out the day. Johnny was something else, a man with unique style and virtuosity to spare. When the players had finished their last song, just on a whim, I went over and asked O'Neal if he'd like to play one more with me. We hadn't been introduced and he looked at me sort of crosswise before responding with "are you a singer?". In reply, I sang the first line of "In The Wee Small Hours" and he smiled and started playing the tune with me. It was, as they say, A Moment. When we finished, the crowd erupted in applause. I leaned over the piano and asked him if he'd make a record with me. He handed me his card and told me to call him. I did and this album is the result.