Friday, May 1, 2020

Songs in Isolation - Part 2

A collaboration I did with my friends and band members Kevin, Ray and Jay. We used Bandlab to share tracks and try new ideas. I ended editing this version in my software and added three tracks using my handy VL70m (again, out of sheer convenience) and this is what turned out. It was fun to learn and work on this song.

Songs in Isolation - Part 1

This is a version of a song I did while locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It was done just to learn more about recording.  I used generic backing tracks and my Yamaha VL70m (which happened to be nearby at the time.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Waste My Youth (Flintheart)

This is an experiment I did with a track provided to me by the excellent Chris Flynn and the superb band Flintheart. Go see these guys! I added a few tracks to give it a bit of a different feel. The sax line is meant to be uplifting and represent "youth". The eerie theremin sound is the counter symbolism to represent "waste".

Saturday, August 27, 2016

If The Coal's Wet

Here is yet another instrumental in the Jazzisoulifunkitronic style.  Done overdubbing saxes in the back doing the callback with a trombone lead.  Get on the good foot!

In Her City

Here is another soulful performed with the ReKeStRa Quartet.  I used the excellent Dynasample Xpression unit for the horn sounds.  Turned out pretty nice IMO.

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".