Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sahara's Mile

Above is a version of an old song we did with some significant rearrangement. I did the horn lines at the beginning and the sax lead part, as well as added a few other tracks to fill out the arrangement. I think it sounds pretty good for a four piece ensemble.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Musical Influences

Every musician has their own musical influences - early encounters with other artists that influenced their own course and approach to music.

I started out as a trumpet player, so one of my very first influences was the great Maynard Ferguson.  It was my brother who actually turned me on to Maynard.  My brother was a sax/clarinet player and two years older than me, so of course he was in on all the cool stuff!  So one day he tells me about this album called "Conquistador" that had this really great trumpet player.  I was like "cool" let's check it out, so we went off to the record store. Yes, I said "record" store - and used our saved cash to buy "Conquistador"  - and after listening, I was completely blown away by Maynard's' chops and range and this began my long journey into jazz and big band. I saw Maynard live a few times when he came through town and he never disappointed:



Influences have a chain effect. So while I was getting into Maynard, I started checking out all his other songs, such as Give It One, and Chameleon (which lead me to Herbie Hancock later, but that's another story) and started listening to other instrumentalists, such as Bill Chase, and predominately horn bands such as Brick, Tower of Power and Chicago, of course the incredible Earth Wind and Fire! This opened me up to Rock, Soul, Fusion and so many styles. I have always loved all types of music as a result, but I seemed to really love jazz, Blues, Funk and soul the most. Somewhere along the chain, I eventually stumbled across the great Grover Washington Jr. Probably the most soulful sax player of all time, I found myself drawn to his very fluid style, which was very jazzy and bluesy, but also funky! Grover somehow seamlessly blended my favorite genres together. His album Winelight remains one of my favorite albums of all time and I think over the years I collected most of Grover's earlier recordings. Mr. Magic remains the musician's "national anthem" and I have played it countless times in numerous bands:

 

 All of these early influences lead to many other great musicians - too many to list in a blog post. But I always like to visit my early influences as a reminder of where and how I started out in my musical journey. Influences are what shape us and help lead us down that path. So I owe a great debt to the likes of Maynard Ferguson, Grover Washington Jr. and many others. Both Maynard and Grover are sadly gone now, but if I could go back in time, I would love to tell them "Thanks".

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Art of Slap Bass

Master musician and perhaps one of the greatest bass players in the history of the world, Marcus Miller absolutely slaps the crap out of Jaco's Teen Town.  Amazing stuff really.  This guy is fantastic live. Catch him if you are lucky enough to find him coming through your area.


Swingin' on the Highway to Hell

Here's a very cool big band arrangement cover of AC/DC's iconic Highway to Hell by the German band Jazzkantine.  Again, it reaffirms my belief that you can swing almost any song and make it sound good.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called "Lounge"



Here's a nice cover of the Queen song "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Torsten Goods, a German jazz guitarist. I have to say - I like his arrangement of this cover. A bit of lounge-ified with some Elvis thrown in for good measure, although the Queen version had a lot of "Elvis" in it to begin with. Great stuff! This guy has a terrific jazz sound.

Also like the black and white with superimposed color, especially the shoes, jacket and the guitar. Very stylish. Love the color of his guitar. Is that a Rhapsody in Blue quote at the end? I believe so.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Connecticut (Randy Goodenough)

Here's another collaboration/experiment I did with the fine singer and songwriter Randy Goodenough. I added the strings sounds to this recording and remastered it slightly. I really like Randy's stuff - he's a great lyricist and I plan to do some other collaborations with him in the near future.

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

EWI Funk!

Here's a song I recorded when I received my EWI4000s that I purchased from Patchman Music. It is set to EVI fingering.  It's pretty easy to switch to this instrument from EVI but I prefer the EVI octave mechanism. Still, in a pinch, I could gig with this instrument.