My Picks: Track One – Manna

Track One – Manna

This track is another cut from the Manna project that, unfortunately, was never released. Manna was a duo project with the incredible pianist/composer Marc Puricelli.

Marc and I have played together for years and he had some really cool drum grooves from Scott and Robbie Hardkiss.  We decided to go into the studio and completely improvise to each drum groove. There was no music and no discussions. The only thing that we decided was that with each drum groove we should play in a different key.  So, this music is completely free and improvised, but every track turned out beautifully. Marc’s creativity and amazing ear made it easy for us to navigate through trading ideas, melodies, doubling sometimes, changing feels – seemingly all with complete ease.  Marc simultaneously played acoustic piano and electric keyboard and I set up an array of guitars and effects.  When we listened back, we were frankly blown away with the results — the melodies, chord changes, forms, everything.  I did later add bass to a couple of tracks to beef up what we had already played and a rhythm guitar part here and there to accentuate what we had improvised.

I regret that this never was released, but, maybe someday.  I do want to unearth more of these tracks and hope to share them with you going forward.  After the fact, we did give the songs titles, but I have unfortunately lost all info from that session.  So, here is track one from the Manna Sessions featuring Marc Puricelli – I encourage you to check out his music.

Hear more from Manna.

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My Picks: Cover It – The Coalition

Cover It – The Coalition

A few years back, I was in a band called The Coalition, which also featured Scott Healy, Michael Merritt and Shawn Pelton.  In 2004, we recorded and released a CD called Naked Movies (which is available right here on this website!) on Midlantic Records.  It was later re-released on Fractal Entertainment and I have no idea where it is now. 

Anyway, this toe-tapper was from our original demo and, sadly, it never made the final CD. This group was trying to blur the lines a bit and at times trying to emulate the collective, group improvisations of early jazz, but in a modern context.  Scott used only vintage keyboards and no synths, and everything was recorded live – with exception of “Drum Sandwich” – but with pre-production and mayhem/percussion tracks for the CD.

Bill Milkowski said: ”Call it avant groove, post-jam band, organic techno-jazz-fusion or call it whatchuwanna, the resulting sound is as unprecedented as it is provocative. In a world of vacuum-packed sampled sounds and clone bands galore, retro-this, neo-that and same ol’ same ol’, Naked Movies can truly be called fresh and original.” Anyway, this unreleased track is called “Cover It,” written by the incredibly talented Scott Healy.  If you dig it, check out the Naked Movies CD…..it’s pretty wild. 

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My Picks: Grapefruit Moon – Southside Johnny With LaBamba’s Big Band

Grapefruit Moon – Southside Johnny With LaBamba’s Big Band

I was very fortunate to be involved in this amazing recording a few years back.  My colleague and good friend, the insanely talented  Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg, had the idea of doing a big band recording with Southside Johnny.  Southside is friends with Tom Waits and loves his music.  So they decided to do an entire recording of select Tom Waits songs – arranged for a big band by LaBamba – and featuring Southside on vocals and harmonica. I was thrilled to be involved from the beginning and throughout the entire process.

There are far too many incredible musicians to be listed here, but all of my bandmates from The Coalition – Scott Healy, Shawn Pelton and Michael Merritt – participated in these sessions, as did my colleagues and great friends, Mark Pender and Michael Mancini, along with a host of other cats .

If you don’t have this CD, I encourage you to pick it up at www.southsidejohnny.com or iTunes or wherever you can find it, as it is pretty incredible.

On the title cut, I was called on to play an intro on nylon string guitar, as well as an archtop throughout for chords and solo fills.  I hope you dig it.

 

 

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My Picks: What a Wonderful World – Oria Aspen

Oh my, oh my!!! Once in a while you get to record something that holds up forever and is a special gem, that is certainly the case here.  I produced this session and played acoustic guitar.  I arranged this to have a slightly different feel and some slight harmonic changes.  This is, of course, the amazing classic, “What A Wonderful World,” recorded by the incredibly talented Oria Aspen, from her debut CD, Yellow Paint.

Oria was a whopping 15 years old when we went to Nashville to cut this song.  She blew everyone away with her beautiful sound and mature phrasing for any age, let alone fifteen.  And, to add gold to the pot, it is a duet with the legendary soul rocker Southside Johnny, who added vocals and a gorgeous harmonic solo.  It took us about as long to record this as it will take you to listen to it and could not be more perfect.  I hope you enjoy this beautiful gem.

To hear more of Oria’s music, go to: www.oriaaspen.com

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My Picks: Mere Images – Glenn Alexander

Mere Images – Glenn Alexander

This is a solo nylon string guitar piece I wrote and recorded many years ago.

I recorded it for the Oria CD which was released by Palmetto Records in 1996, but this cut did not make the CD. It was a bit out of character, as it is very classically influenced.  I originally titled this song “Naked Guitar” but changed it to “Mere Images.” It was unquestionably inspired by many great guitarists, but primarily Pat Martino, someone I hold in the highest regard.

This was/is something different for me and I hope to return to this type of material one day. I love the sound of nylon and I truly hope you enjoy this track. 

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My Picks: Manna – Glenn Alexander / Marc Puricelli

Manna – Glenn Alexander / Marc Puricelli

This track is from a CD that, unfortunately,  was never released.   It was a duo project – called Manna – with the incredible pianist/composer Marc Puricelli.

Marc and I have played together for years and he had some really cool drum grooves from Scott and Robbie Hardkiss.  We decided to go into the studio and completely improvise to each drum groove. There was no music and no discussions. The only thing that we decided was that with each drum groove we should play in a different key.  So, this music is completely free and improvised, but every track turned out beautifully.

Marc’s creativity and amazing ear made it easy for us to navigate through trading ideas, melodies, doubling sometimes, changing feels – seemingly all with complete ease.  Marc simultaneously played acoustic piano and electric keyboard and I set up an array of guitars and effects.  When we listened back, we were frankly blown away with the results — the melodies, chord changes, forms, everything.  I did later add bass to a couple of tracks to beef up what we had already played and a rhythm guitar part here and there to accentuate what we had improvised.

I regret that this never was released, but, maybe someday.  I do want to unearth more of these tracks and hope to share them with you going forward.  After the fact we did give the songs titles, but I have unfortunately lost all info from that session.  So, here is track three from the Manna Sessions featuring Marc Puricelli – I encourage you to check out his music.

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