My Picks: “Doo Dad” by The Coalition

“Doo Dad” by 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.  It is a little number I thoughtfully and affectionately titled “Doo Dad”  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.   If you dig it, check out the Naked Movies CD…..it’s pretty wild.

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My Picks: “Hey Good Lookin’ ” by New York Horns

“Hey Good Lookin’ ” by New York Horns

I recently had the great pleasure of going into the studio with the New York Horns and recording their first legitimate CD, simply titled New York Horns.  It features some of my favorite cats to work with here in the New York area, and of course, many are my bandmates in Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, as well.

When we hit live, I always sing a few tunes with the band and I am happy to say that they chose one of them for the CD.  It is the very well-known Hank Williams classic “Hey Good Lookin’.”  This version was inspired by a recording I heard many years ago of The Jerry Hahn Brotherhood doing this very song.  To my knowledge, that recording was never released, but I always loved it and it featured one of my favorite singers on the planet – and Wichita brother – Mike Finnigan.  Although this interpretation is a long way from Hank’s version, I think you will dig it.

I encourage you to check out the rest of the songs on the CD and come on out to our live gigs.  The band is killin’, funky, groovin’ and you’ll have a good time.  For more info on the New York Horns, please go to: www.nyhorns.com;  facebook.com/nyhorns;  twitter.com/nyhorns & youtube.com/newyorkhorns.

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My Picks: “On the Way Home to Earth” by The Mahavishnu Project

“On the Way Home to Earth” by The Mahavishnu Project

Folks, THIS IS PURE GUITAR INSANITY!!  This track, “On The Way Home To Earth,” is primarily a drum-guitar duet from a double CD set that I recorded with The Mahavishnu Project – lead by drummer/musician extraordinaire Gregg Bendian – entitled Return To The Emerald Beyond.  We recorded the entire Visions Of The Emerald Beyond from start to finish, and Gregg added some bonus tracks.  This was recorded live in the summer of 2006 and released in 2007 on Cuneiform Records.

Return To The Emerald Beyond features the full 11-piece orchestra, complete with string quartet, vocalist, woodwinds (played by original Mahavishnu Orchestra member Premik Russell Tubbs) and quintet. Members included Gregg Bendian (drums, percussion, orchestration and conducting), Rob Thomas (lead violin), Adam Holzman (keyboards), David Johnsen (bass), Premik Russell Tubbs (saxophones and flute), Katherine Fong (1st violin), Zach Brock (2nd violin), Nicole Federici (viola), Leigh Stuart (cello), Maria Neckam (voice) and, of course, yours truly on electric and acoustic guitars. It was an honor to be a part of this group and to get the opportunity to play this incredible music by John McLaughlin.

I encourage you to check out the full CD at www.mahavishnuproject.com and also www.cuneiformrecords.com

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My Picks: “Mechanics & Carpentry” recorded by Dave LaRue

“Mechanics & Carpentry” recorded by Dave LaRue

I wrote this song many, many years ago.  It was very much influenced from listening to Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs.  Steve is a world class guitarist and musician of the highest order. I had read that Steve was a tinkerer and very much into both mechanics and carpentry, so that became the title of my song – Mechanics & Carpentry.   Strangely enough, Dave LaRue – my colleague and bandmate at the time – landed the gig playing bass in the Dixie Dregs, and then, later, The Steve Morse Band.  So, this track seemed perfect for Dave’s solo recording, with  Van Romaine playing drums.  This trio was the second incarnation of Stretch and we played many gigs up and down the East Coast, as well as a tour of Australia.  Dave is an extraordinary electric bassist – one of the finest in the world in what he does.  It was an honor and pleasure to play on his CD and to have one of my songs included.

You can check more of Dave’s music out at www.davelarue.com

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My Picks: “KREMZEEK!” by Jon Irabagon

Kremzeek! by Jon Irabagon

This month I would like to feature a track I played on for Jon Irabagon.  Jon was the winner of the 2008 Thelonius Monk International Saxophone Competition and was voted 2013 Rising Star-Tenor Saxophone in Downbeat magazine polls. This album, Jon Irabagon’s Outright! Unhinged, received a prestigious five stars in Downbeat, was named one of the top recordings of 2012 and the review singled out my “fusionistic, face-melting guitar solos” on the cut “Kremzeek!” …….ya gotta love it.

Be sure to check out Jon’s other stuff at jonirabagon.com

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My Picks: “Moment in Time” by Janie Barnett

Moment in Time by Janie Barnett

This featured favorite is by one of the most amazingly talented singer/songwriter/guitarists I have ever worked with – and, frankly, that I have ever heard period – the insanely talented Janie Barnett.

She has recorded and performed with the most talented and well-known musicians in the world. You have certainly heard her sing on countless radio and television commercials for which there are far too many to list. I was so honored to play electric guitar on this cut “Moment in Time,” from her 2000 release Belong. It is a duet, with Janie, the composer, singing and playing acoustic guitar. She graciously let me do what I do.

Every time I hear this it captures my entire being, brings chills to my body, stirs up emotions and I am completely lost in a “Moment in Time.” In silence and solitude, listen and spend a moment in time with us. Visit Janie’s website – JanieBarnett.com – to learn more about her and hear her extraordinary music.

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