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Attended the University of Miami School of Music, Studio Music & Jazz program for two years or so back in 1980. I was living in Ft. Lauderdale at the time. Got tired of South Florida and moved back to my home town of Charlotte, NC in 85'. Began playing around town in various jazz groups playing jazz standards out of the "Real Book". Played in a jazz quartet called "HangTime" with Chris Peck on Flute and Vibraphone, Ben Williams on Fretless Bass, an Ampeg Fretless bass that sounded incredible, not to mention Ben's skill as a Bassist! Fantastic drummer by the name of Scott Mclaughlin. I also played in another small group called "Trio Grande' ". with Rick Blackwell, an incredible Bassist and Michael Porter on Flute. Both groups stayed pretty busy. I also taught at one of the local music stores. I had anywhere between 60 to 85 students a week. Mostly junior and senior high school kids wanting to learn how to play tunes by MegaDeath, Guns & Roses, Pantera, Slayer and a host of other rock groups to impress their friends. The Metal thing was a little "heavy" for my taste, but these groups were quite phenomenal. I also had a few serious students that wanted to study music theory, jazz theory, improvisation etc..... I enjoyed teaching and hope to do it again someday. Recorded my first project in 1987, "To the Top". Recorded it at Studio East in Charlotte which happened to be the old Arthur Smith Studios back in the 60's and 70's. Ha ha..........James Brown recorded "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" there and The Swinging Medallions recorded their one hit wonder called "Double Shot of My Baby's Love" there. I use to live beside the guy who produced that record when I was in high school. His name was Harry Karras. He was a psychologist I seem to remember. "To The Top" featured many of the great musicians I was playing with at the time. All from the Charlotte area. Michael Porter-Flute, a fantastic drummer by the name of Donny Marshall. Keyboard extraordinaire Mark Stallings. Aforementioned bassist Rick Blackwell. Percussion wizard Jim Brock who also engineered the project for me. Two incredible horn players, Jon Thorton on Trumpet and Tim Gordon on Alto Saxophone. After shopping this project to what seemed like a 1000 jazz labels, I was offered a press & distribution deal with a label out of Van Nuys, California called ITI Records. They had a roster of 20 or 25 artist at the time. Saxophonist Richard Elliot of "Tower of Power" and the "Yellow Jackets" fame, was a name I recognized. Jazz drummer Sherman Ferguson, who I was very familiar with via his work on several of jazz guitarist Pat Martino records. One of my biggest influences. ITI (In The Interest) folded before my project came out so needless to say the deal was over before it started. I was starting to fly quite a bit at that time so I decided to pursue aviation as a career. In the meantime I recorded my 2nd CD in 96' (Night Passions). Got a lot of good response from labels but no one picked it up. Roster full for this year, check back next year etc.... Recorded two CDs of jazz standards "Out of Nowhere" in 2001 and "My Favorite Things" in 2007. Next came "See You There" in 2009 and "Into The Wind" in 2010. Five years went by before the next projects were recorded. "Count Me In" and "Sentimental You" in 2015 and "Swing Street" in 2016.
I haven't played out live in a very long time. I use to really enjoyed it. Especially with the guys that I was playing with. Incredible musicians. Playing live all of the time puts an edge on your skills as a player which unfortunately, I've lost somewhat. It's been almost 3 decades since I've performed live mainly due to my schedule as an airline pilot. I keep my chops up and continue to write, record, produce etc.......I'm happy with the way things turned out and I'm just thankful that my love for music has never waned.
Grew up listening and learning to play mostly rock & roll. My older brother played so there was always a guitar sitting around. I liked groups like Grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Bros, Allman Bros, Frank Zappa and what would be called "Classic Rock" now. Heard my first George Benson record (Breezin) in 78' and was blown away by his playing. I was fascinated (still am) by the way he plays. His concept of tonality, agility, speed, timing, sound etc....are unmatched in my humbled opinion. George is just in a league of his own. Then there is the incredible Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and a host of others. There's another player by the name of Barry Greene down in Florida that I like a lot too but my main influences have been George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino.
I play a 1979 Ibanez GB-20, a 79' Ibanez GB-10 and a 1990 Ibanez GB-12. All through either a 78' Polytone 104 or a reissue of the original Polytone Minibrute. A little compression and some reverb and that's it. I'll also use a Fender Strat played through a Digitech 2101 for rhythm parts, picked parts etc.... on the pop jazz things I write.
I thought this was a great twist on the explanation of jazz!!
Yogi Berra Explains Jazz
Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?
Yogi: I can't, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other
half is the part people play while others are playing something they never
played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, its
right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong
enough. But if you play it too right, it's wrong.
Interviewer: I don't understand.
Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's
too complicated. That's whats so simple about it.
Interviewer: Do you understand it?
Yogi: No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldnt know
anything about it.
Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?
Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the
ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that
are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill
Interviewer: What is syncopation?
Yogi: That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before
or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because
that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz,
but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds.
Interviewer: Now I really don't understand.
Yogi: I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.
Well, there you have it, Jazz. LOL :)
Just want to thank all of the listeners who have visited my site here. I hope everyone found something that appealed to them and of course, you are always welcomed back any time.