We moved into our home on Woodmere Road in 1996, and after 25 years we are starting to see the end of the road here. But this was the first place where I’ve had a purpose built home production space, with its own entrance separate from the house. My first composition in my new room was “Mashine Blues” and the second was the title track Woodmere, expressing the joy of having a really good sounding room in which to compose and produce my music. So this album is really a tribute to this home my wife Erica and I have built, as we begin to thin of leaving for our next phase, and a return to some of my earlier writing (as well as some brand new pieces too!).
This was the very first piece I produced in my new studio after we moved into the house. Our neighbor/contractor friend Billy Gorman built the studio space for me in what had been a utility space that supported the master bedroom, which had been added on, and which extended beyond the front of the original home. the space while small, is sonically isolated and well treated for making electronic music. I started the piece with the machine-like ostinato, and then began adding tracks and decided to make it a minor blues form with an interesting turn-around, using the bVI to bVII progression borrowed from natural minor. I play all the tracks except for Alto saxophone, which is Bruce Nifong.
Ready to Go
This was built around a very simple bass line that morphed into an interesting chord progression. And I kept building until the guitar solo begins to rock out.
For the longest time, this piece sat in my portfolio un-finished and un-released, and titled just “Reggae.” I had bought some drum samples and discovered that some were by my friend Kenwood Denard. So I used Kenwood’s tracks as a building block for the tune. Then I decided to rock out on the guitar solo. And for Bruce’s solos I used an envelope follower and wah-filter and lots of delay to add interesting color to his jazzy licks! So why is it called Slice? Don’t ask. I won’t tell…
Encased in Time – a song cycle in three parts
In 2007 I fell and broke my back and needed surgery, but my vertebrae weren’t strong enough to take the screws so I ended up in a body brace-cast from my neck to my waist for 18 months until the bones had healed enough for the surgery. When I learned I was going to have the surgery and hopefully get out of my body cast, I went into the studio and produced this trio of pieces in a weekend.
This piece expresses the loneliness I felt in my shell, the despair of not knowing what was going to happen to me. The frustration of being confined to a wheelchair, and the opening chords are echoed in each of the three movements.
This movement expresses the despair and blues of being confined in the body cast for 18 months. I wanted out so badly. Bruce’s sax melody sings the experience of my soul.
After the doctor called to let me know I was ready for the surgery, I was feeling hopeful. Nervous. Worried. But HOPEFUL. This piece expresses the anticipation of the surgery and the possibility of returning to my regular life.
I always loved this Beatle song from Rubber Soul. This is my arrangement built on an entirely new chord progression and rhythmic treatment. I had been performing this live in my solo concerts and clinics for years, but this is the first recording. I hope John Lennon would have liked it.
Mr. Joe Z
In 1990 I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of going to Perugia, Italy to co-teach a class on synthesizer performance with Joe Zawinul (Weather Report). Here’s a few pics from the class:
During those 3 weeks Joe and I would co-teach the class during the day, and he would perform at night at the Umbria Jazz Festival with the Syndicate. We became good friends and made a point to get together at least once a year at the NAMM shows…
This piece is inspired by his music and spirit. And is dedicated to his memory.
I wrote this piece as a lullaby for my daughters when they were young, but this is the first recording to be released. I have been playing it for years in my solo concerts and clinics and thought this album was the right vehicle of nostalgia for its release, finally!
From a Distance
I bought a new acoustic guitar and brought into the studio and started improvising and this tune came out. Here it is re-thought and and produced anew.
Returning to my roots in Detroit, the motor city, where I grew up listening to Motown hits and getting funky, this piece is a fun expansion of the licks I learned as a young guitarist augmented by the electronics I got into after I decided to go to Berklee College of Music. Bruce Nifong gets down and does the funky chicken! Quack
Ending the album with the title track, this piece is a nostalgic look back over our 25 years in this home. The video shows some of the surroundings, and my home studio, and some (very old) pictures of me rocking out in our living room. Enjoy!