Sunday, January 04, 2009

Group 3

A big part of The Soundtrack Of My Life revolved around compilations, those discs put out for promotional purposes by the record labels to showcase their rosters. It was an excellent way to learn about artists that I may have been unfamiliar with. Of all the labels, GRP did a really great job, in its hey-day, of keeping the fans apprised of what they were putting out. I purposely used the phrase hey-day, because after Verve & UMG let Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen go, the new 'suits' in charge basically took an incredibly successful Contemporary Jazz roster and drove it into the dirt; of course, these were industry professionals and consultants who knew what the Jazz fan wanted! Thank God for the internet. Anyway, in 2002 Verve released a compilation for GRP's 20th Anniversary, The Best Smooth Jazz Ever; basically it was a pile of shit - no imagination or risk taking whatsoever. But, two tracks do standout, if for no other reason than that to my knowledge, they have never been released before, except on this disc; Group 3, comprised of Richard Elliot, David Benoit and Jeff Golub. The 3 of them, I believe, toured for awhile under this moniker; the music's ok, they've all done better on their own, but I'm sure some A&R guy patted himself on the back pretty good for this one. Like I said, thank God for the internet, I know The Soundtrack Of My Life does!

Incognito Incognito

Inner Shade is one of those one-of side projects, basically, it's Incognito Incognito; another project which was the brainchild of guitarist, composer and all around talent, Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick. I picked this one up in 1988 (can't believe it's been 11 years), it was a no brainer, I really liked Incognito, so when I found out this was going to released, the biggest challenge was hunting down a copy for The Soundtrack Of My Life. Ah, those pre-internet days, when you had to actually go into a record store and hopefully it carried what you were looking for. As i've written on this Blog before, one of my all time favorite compositions is the Freddie Hubbard song, Little Sunflower. I thought that it would only be appropriate to post another version of this incredibly touching masterpiece, in light of Hubbard's passing this past week. Freddie was one of the early discoveries of The Soundtrack Of My Life; although he had serious health and lip issues that prevented him from recording significantly the last decade, his work was the standard by which I measured other trumpet players; this one is for you Freddie!

Funky Flute

I love Jazz Flute! Always have; usually it's a saxophonist who doubles on occasion on the flute, but one of the all time flute masters was Herbie Mann, an artist who moved very freely amongst the various styles of Jazz. An incredible example of his exceptional musicianship is Memphis Underground, recorded in 1969 with rock guitarist Duane Allman. I'm not sure when I first heard Memphis Underground, but I have this memory of being in a bar after work, circa 1998, turning my co-workers onto this track, which was loaded into the juke box of this cigar bar we used to go to. I never had the chance to see Herbie live, and it's safe to say that he's really better known for much of the Brazilian flavored recordings that he did, but Memphis Underground is my all time Herbie Mann favorite. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I apologize to everyone for not posting any new stories of late, besides being very busy and somewhat distracted the last few months, I've been in a quandary as to how to post my album tracks ever since boomp3 went out of business. I appreciate all the emails and inquiries that I've received, and I promise that 2009 will bring a whole host of new posts. Since there are so many other blogs that allow readers to download the music that they are writing about, I'm only interested in posting music to listen to, so that if you like it, you can go out and acquire the tune and support these incredibly talented musicians. Hence my problem; there are numerous services that allow me to upload music, but I haven't found a site that will allow me to host my music, for listening only. If anyone can steer me in the direction that I'm looking to go, your advice would be greatly appreciated. I just feel so strongly about not only writing about my passion but also allowing you to listen to some standout tracks as well - hopefully I'll figure it out soon. Thanks and have a great year!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hopes & Dreams

Hopes & Dreams, we all have them, don't we? Sometimes we forget, especially in these trying times, but they're there. It's been almost 8 years since I've been back in town, and my hopes & dreams seem to keep growing, expanding and shifting. As The Soundtrack Of My Life has grown, expanded and shifted over the last 8 years, there hasn't really been much representation of Local Talent added to The Soundtrack. I think that it may have more to do with my lack of exposure than the lack of talent here in CNY. This CD was given to me by a friend, who to their credit, kept after me to listen to it and perhaps I'd be moved enough to write about it. Well, I gave Evan Knight a listen, and I haven't been able to stop listening to his CD 'Reminiscence' over the last week. An incredible debut recording from this Syracuse area saxophonist, which immediately reminded me of the best that Nelson Rangell had to offer early in his career. Although I haven't shared that much about the present, this blog isn't just about the past; Hopes & Dreams; when I start my download only Jazz Label, Evan Knight is exactly the type of young local talent I've been dreaming about to produce ..... it's only a matter of time!
Listen to 'Reminiscence', 'Sound Check' and 'Hopes & Dreams'

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Is This Guy?

Who is this guy and how did he manage to get Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Andy Summers and Carlos Santana on his CD? Paolo Rustichelli is a keyboard player from Italy, that much I know; something about approaching these guys at various Jazz Festivals throughout Europe and playing demos for them is the story I've read. Whatever ...... I came across this CD in 1992, freshly wedded, in Raleigh, NC. Didn't take me long to decide that The Soundtrack Of My Life needed a new addition; I'm talking about the CD, not the wife, especially after seeing who some of the side players on this disc were. Of special note is the tune Capri (Reprise) where Miles blows without the mute, he really was not recorded much if any in his later period without using the mute on his trumpet. Wayne is featured on Femmes and Bokrug. Enjoy!
Listen to 'Femmes', 'Capri', 'Bokrug' and 'Capri (Reprise)'

01 Femmes
03 Capri
05 Bokrug
10 Capri (Reprise)


It was 1988, all kinds of things going on - no need to start from the beginning, especially if you happen to be a regular reader of this blog! If not, then it's a mystery - need to go back and do some homework! I come across this sampler, from a label called Pro Jazz, never heard of it..........whoa. It's got one of Spyro Gyra's early guitarists on it; but it also has this other guitarist from Long Island that I've never heard of, Joe Taylor. Well, after hearing the cut Mystery Walk, and rocking out to it over numerous Absolut & Tonics, I had to have it - bad. Another notch for The Soundtrack Of My Life, so to speak.
Listen to 'Delphin's Daughter' and 'Mystery Walk'
01 Delphin's Daughter
02 Mystery Walk

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Healing The Wounds

I like those three words, Healing The Wounds - a timeless endeavor? Perhaps. In the case of Joe Sample and Wilton Felder, minus Stix Hooper; The Crusaders - it's the name of their 1991 GRP release. By the early 1990's Sample, Felder and Hooper had pretty much split up and gone their own way, so I was filled with much excitement and anticipation when I found out that they were releasing a new recording on GRP in '91. I first discovered The Crusaders in 1980, at the very beginning of my quest, and believe it or not, I've just recently finished acquiring their back catalog (thank you fellow bloggers!!), 28 years later! Sample and Felder reunited for Healing The Wounds, which carries over the same sort of vibe that was reflected on Sample's recent solo projects of the time (Spellbound and Ashes To Ashes), and once again, Marcus Miller plays a prominent role. It wouldn't be until 2003 that The Soundtrack Of My Life would add another Crusaders release, but that's best left for another post.
Listen to 'Pessimisticism', 'Maputo' and 'Running Man'

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Only The Good Die Young part2

George Howard; talented, soulful, seductive, young. I first heard George Howard's incredibly seductive and soulful soprano saxophone in 1985 when I was living in San Diego; I was immediately struck by how much emotion he blew through that horn, I knew right then that he was going to be a major part of The Soundtrack Of My Life. Unfortunately, I would only have a little more than a decade to soak up his sound. George Howard, at one point was a member of Grover Washington, Jr's touring band, then went out on his own to record a number of LP's for TBA, MCA, GRP and finally Blue Note. There's going to be a number of future posts about George, but right now I'd like to introduce you to his GRP debut, Love And Understanding, released in 1991, not long after the MCA/GRP merger. As I've written previously, this was an extremely exciting and fertile time for GRP; me, I was just about to turn 30 years old when this CD was released. I was going through a transition period in my life, trying to figure out what was next, all the while looking for inspiration from the music - from My Soundtrack. The more things change, it seems the more they stay the same - ok, maybe not, but the music, The Soundtrack Of My Life will always be there.
Listen to 'Baby Come To Me', 'Love And Understanding', and 'Everything I miss At Home'

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Collaborations Part 2

In 1986, again, Warner Bros had two Contemporary Jazz superstars, who had a long association with each other, signed at the same time; Bob James and David Sanborn. Sanborn had been with the label, it was James who had come over after a very lengthly and fruitful association with Columbia. Once again, it's the incredible Marcus Miller who's the glue to this project, providing not only his unique bass sound but compositional skill as well. Although both Bob James and David Sanborn have done so many individual and group projects over the last 22 years, Double Vision in my opinion is one of the true highlights of both of their career's. Marcus Miller's 'Maputo' has been in regular rotation on The Soundtrack Of My Life since 1986, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have!
Listen to 'Maputo' and 'It's You'

Collaborations Part 1

Although George Benson first discovered Earl Klugh, it wasn't until 1987 that these two incredibly talented guitarists, both signed to the same label (Warner Bros) finally collaborated for a full album. I was living in a small upstairs flat on a quiet tree lined street, my stereo, the center of attention in the small dining room. I grabbed this CD as soon as it was released, having no doubts as to how great it was going to be ..... and it was and still is! Among others who helped out on this recording, Marcus Miller was flying high at Warner Bros (Miles), and was perfectly suited to this project. George and Earl; huge parts of The Soundtrack Of My Life, finally brought together!
Listen to 'Mt. Airy Road' and 'Collaboration'

Catastrophic Hard Drive Failure

Well, those are four words I hope not to hear ever again! It's been four weeks since my trusty G4 Powerbook's hard drive shit the bed! The good news is that it's been repaired and I have all 100gb of my music, the bad news is that I have nothing else that was on my computer!!! Although all I really need is The Soundtrack Of My Life, it's still no excuse not to back-up on a regular basis!