One of the overlooked facets of his career was that of a go-to private pianist, for High Society events and small soirees, as depicted in "The Thin Man". Remember, during the 1920's, classical, as well as popular music was undergoing vast changes, from an overwrought Late Romanticism, to a far more austere (and somewhat chaotic) sensibility, aided by his strongly staccato playing style. Being a friend of George and Ira Gershwin's, and having been taught by Arnold Schönberg, he was on the bleeding cutting edge, yet not much of a composer himself. Accordingly, he honed a select repetoire drawn from equal parts of pop/classical (Gershwin, Katchaturian's Sabre Dance, show tunes, and the like) and the thorniest of current classical, priding himself on sneaking a little of the latter into the former. Since he was, as well, an accomplished conversationalist and spellbinding raconteur, he was able to educate many influential Americans about "the new music."