An artist's lifetime is typically punctuated by the heights they reach or the body of work amassed throughout their creative periods. Jeff is still reaching for new ground while also delivering some of his best work to date. The maturity in the phrasing and melodic statements are a far cry from lightning fast licks from the early days.
"There is a difference between music that coarsely entertains and merely propels a listener versus music that matters on a much deeper level, that truly has the timeless weight of truth and beauty and soul. I want to make music like that. Anything else at this point is inexcusable."
As Jeff is now nearly constantly ensconced in his studio, obviously his natural habitat, I sense a level of comfort and ease he evidently hasn't possessed in a long time... I knew him when he was couch surfing his way from gig to gig, skinnier than a toothpick and even though he was in many dire situations by today's standards, he smiled and carried on as if all was perfect; a king of the world, unaware of his royal bloodlines.
With a nearly nonexistent viable music outlet for the music he loves and chooses to explore and an antiquated yet disarming old school studio veteran approach coupled with the liberating freedom of limitless experimentation, a decade ago he had the simple epiphany that by merely indulging his equally insatiable technical interests, he would be free to record whatever he wanted to, whenever he wants.
He's played thousands of the scrappiest gigs in some of the roughest places you'd ever find yourself, and as a result knows how to throw a party for even the most hardened listener. After realizing where the endless roadhouses and drastically deteriorating health were leading, he made the decision that changed everything. "I'm done. I'm not spending time away from my family to go play to rowdy drunks." Little did he realize this would lead to the ultimate musical freedom; "I can play anything I want. I immediately adopted a Becker/Fagan-like philosophy that was essentially "I can play the stuff I'm best at, then bring in exactly what I want for the rest. Mix it when I'm ready." The happy result, is unstoppable.
This is a new chapter in his life; indifference to trends or market share, playing for the sake of playing, listening for the sake of listening and finding songs and himself in instruments he never knew he could play. This is going to be a great ride.
Briefly, I played with a few rock acts, "Captain Crunch" and "Trash Rock Kings", I played a lot of funk/r&b with Charlie Redd and Les Foster, and played a bajillion roadhouses with Ed Kliman in a revved up blues band called "Thunder Chiefs". I've played on more than 50 releases (credited or not), have been a professional engineer/producer/mixer for many moons, and just simply love making music in the studio. Songwriting comes very easy for me, ideas flow, and then it becomes all about getting the best performances out of everyone; it's a blast!
Played thousands of gigs, usually fun, some great, some forgettable, I tend to romanticize a lot of them, but the reality was that it was generally, despite the party, a lot of work for little pay.
My influences will read much different than I sound, but Miles Davis (50's to late 60's for me), Oscar Peterson, Steely Dan, Donald Fagan, BB King, Red Garland, Joe Pass, Art Taum, Bill Evans, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Sonny Rollins, Soul Coughing, Vince Guaraldi.. and about a jillion more...
Ok, let's keep this simple, or we'll be here for a week. I have a couple of nice Gibson jazz boxes I play, but mostly I play stock vintabge strats and teles through vintage fender and marshall amps.. Live I'll sing through a 57 or a 58, but in the studio it's large condensors all the way..