My friend, Mike Blasucci, was showing me some new ideas about using triads on the guitar fingerboard. I don’t think this is what he had in mind, but I came up with a new arrangement for a very cool TV theme.
“It’s A Raggy Waltz” is classic Dave Brubeck – a standard 12-bar blues, but then done up in a 3/4 time and fitted with a bridge that takes you through a bunch of key changes. Here’s a new guitar arrangement accompanied by the incomparable Aurora Wells.
A few weeks ago my twin brother (not really), Hal David, passed away. This amazing lyricist, along with his partner, Burt Bacharach, created some of the most important popular music of the 20th century. Sure, it was sometimes corny and sleepy, but it was always beautifully rich and musical. Here are a couple new guitar arrangements of their songs.
We launched Tocando back around the beginning of the year,… and it’s been a blast! We’ve been performing about once a week — usually substituting in restaurants around Naples when a regular band needs a night off.
To learn more, check out the “Tocando” page, or look under “Calendar” to see where we’re performing next.
Charlie Parker, who died in 1955 at the age of 35, is the last great musician to have made a major leap in the evolution of Western music theory (do, re, mi, fa, so….) with his use notes that don’t fit logically in a major scale (do, re, mi, fa, so…) He used diminished scales and the melodic minor scale a half step above the V chord, and then blurred everything together in blindingly fast bebop rhythms. Donna Lee
In my first recording of the new year, here’s my study of Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee”. Even without an accompaniment, you can hear the implied chords. But if you slowed it down, you’d notice that an awful lot of notes don’t make sense at all to conventional chord theory.
Here’s a new arrangement of the first song on Miles Davis’ album, “Kind of Blue”, the best-selling jazz record of all time. I’ve been studying this album carefully since I first started listening to it in my college dorm room. Miles’ playing on this recording is inspirational. He plays very few notes. This is the first time I’ve worked out Bill Evan’s fascinating piano intro. The head to the song, including the signature bass line and all of the horn parts, lays out very nicely on a guitar fretboard. I’m surprised more guitarists don’t play this song. So What
The quartet played at the Tipping Point Theater last night. Here’s a live recording of Grazing in the Grass – a simple song always popular with our audience. First a hit in 1968 by South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, the following summer it was also a hit for the vocal group, Friends of Distinction (“I can dig it, you can dig it, they can dig it,…”)Grazing in the Grass
Here are a few new songs recently added to my solo guitar repertoire and recorded live at my last gig. You probably won’t hear clapping and yelling because I connect my little pocket recorder directly to the guitar amplifier and don’t use a mic.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
I Love You More Today Than Yesterday
Mad Men (TV theme) / How Insensitive
My Favorite Things
Louis Venne, a terrific local photographer, also showed up the same night and took this action shot. The background is probably blurry because I’m playing something really fast!
Here are a couple more songs from Culvers Travel. Wow! this is a fun band! It includes Ben Culver on fiddle, Barney Culver on cello, and me on guitar. I haven’t really figured out how to record and mix live acoustic instruments yet. But we’re having a good time trying. Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder)
We’re thrilled to have Ingrid Racine join the band. Here are two songs we performed last night at the Keystone Underground in Ypsilanti that feature her trumpet and flugelhorn. (sorry for the poor sound quality – it’s just a little pocket recorder) Jim couldn’t make it so you’ll notice the absence of our brilliant piano player. But look for the full 5-piece band Dec 3 at the WEMU 5:01 gig.Red Clay Grazin’ in the Grass
The new CD is finally finished, mastered and shrink-wrapped!
Somehow, while laboring on this album, we started talking about it like we were building a house, you know, laying the foundation, etc. And though it might not really make sense, you can see how we arrived at the name, “Measure Twice, Bungalow Once”. And consistent with that theme, we’ve decided to donate the proceeds from CD sales to Habitat for Humanity.
After a summer off, we returned to kick off our FIFTH! season with a gig at the Quarter Bistro. Wow, it is so much fun to play music with these three talented musicians! And this time around we played a little more rock than usual. (We’re not always that quiet jazz combo. A while back my friend Larry Largin fixed me up with a Mesa Boogie amp.) We recorded a couple songs on my little pocket recorder. As you can hear, it was a lively crowd! We’ll be back to the QB for two more dates this fall. Put it on your calendar and don’t miss it!
Lucky Southern is a fun fast samba. I love this melody, tho it’s really nothing like the intricate and mesmerizing piano work that Keith Jarrett is known for. Ann’s Kitchen is a new composition. The chorus of the song should be the theme of a television comedy show about my wife’s… oh, never mind. The Mozart piece is,… well, you’ll just have to listen.
This Steely Dan classic exposes some of our rock and roll roots. (Guitar players note: Larry Carlton, who played on the original recording in 1978, now has a great website mr335.tv) You’ll also hear the influences of Herbie Hancock and Charlie Parker in our version of the song.