cocktail party This record was so much fun to make. Paul Frantzich from Compass gave me a lot of room to make a record that I really wanted to make. The "compositions" are so much about groove, that I needed only the best musicians possible to pull it off. Once I had Charley Drayton on drums, I knew all would be well in the world. John Conte brings so much tone and feel to the bass, I can't imagine it going down any other way. On guitar, Adam Widoff is probably one of the most talented people I've ever had the pleasure to work with - and he's a funky man! So, I wanted half the songs to be based on the B3 organ - I got to play that myself. That left lead guitar for the other half. I knew my good buddy Gary Sieger with his soul and touch was the perfect cherry on top. (recorded 12/11-12/2001)
These sessions were recorded in two remarkable days!

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On "Pearl Onions", I really wanted to cop the spirit of Booker T and the M.G.'s "Green Onions". Check out Adam's rhythm on guitar. It really validates the organ melody. Kate Pierson is laughing and growling on this one.

On "Last To Leave", I actually meant for this to be a pretty smackin' track, but Charley and Gary took it in a really mellow, pensive direction. It turned out really beautifully. Gary shines here. I love it.

"Fun Lovin'" is my tribute to one of my favorite bands, the Fun Lovin' Criminals. Kate Pierson is singing backups.

It gets really cooking when we get to "On The Prowl"; probably the best playing on the record by all these super-talented musicians. That noise at the beginning is a field recording on my dictaphone of my local Brooklyn pub - I captured the actual sound of cocktailing. You can't say I don't go the extra mile for these records!

timeless romance
The key to this record was Niko Bolas. Paul at Lifescapes wanted to me make a French period record harkening back to somewhere in Edith Piaf's time. To me there were two things to do right away. One, study the style. Two, call Niko. I knew Niko could get this thing to sound as if may have been recorded back then. I was going to have small string sections and soloists in my studio-(everything was recorded in my room). Niko really brought his engineering artistry to the table. Always use the best artists when you can get them! I love the sound of this record. Thanks, Neeks!
Also on this record are the lovely Jonathan Dinklage on Violin, Mairi Dorman on cello, Tim Ouimette on trumpet, Rich Mercurio on drums, Mike Duclos on bass, Danny Wilensky on winds, Gary Sieger on guitar and me on piano and accordion.
This record was used in the production of Eileen Connolly's play "Seeing Andre Gide"
Spring 2004.

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On "It Happened at the Rue d'Odessa", this is basically a stright Edith Piaf form, with Tim Ouimette playing the melody as if he were her. Mike Duclos is great on this one. Killer upright, Duke!

"The Kiss", with Mairi Dorman on cello, is supposed to be a big movie soundtrack-type piece leading up to the moment of the kiss. Check out Rich Mercurio on drums - yeah, baby.

"And They Dance" , like many of the pieces on this record this song ended up in movements, rather than one plain old song - (not that there's anything wrong with that). The tango really played a big part in the music of that era. One of my favorite recorded moments ever is when Tim Ouimette comes in screaming on the muted trumpet at 2:15 into the thing. Check it Out!

Then there's "A Face Not Forgotten"; with super-bad guitar playing by Gary Sieger. This is a bit of cheating here, style-wise. It's actually more based on Bridget Bardot's 60's albums, but who's keeping track?

simply hip
This one is my world of electronica. Basically a chill-out record. There's no reason why computer manipulated music needs to be without a soul, or life. On the contrary, I think there's lots of emotionally charged music being made in this genre. Aside from not being able to reminice with other musicians about making this record (it's practically all me), I had just as much fun making this one as any other record I've ever made. I love the results, too. I have to say, that the sounds are pretty damn good for having recorded it all myself. Sounds good on the ipod in shuffle. Lots of rhodes, minimoog and wah guitar. I got heavy into the stomp box by Electro Harmonix - the Black Finger - for the guitars. Pretty cool tube compressor.
My gearhead world got a bit brighter on this record, but the music was still the payoff. One of my favorite Lifescapes records ever.

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On "Lava Lamp", I explored a two part composition with lots of the elements staying the same throughout, while I changed the bass from minor on the first half, to major on the second. The lift came out really great. I also like the B3 on this one. Not melodic, but funky. Tim Ouimette is on trumpet.

"New Beat Interlude #1", has one of my favorite singers, Jenny Douglas McRae doing some super-sexy soulful sangin'. Love her. All the chill out building blocks are on this one - rhodes, moog, B3 and a funky beat.

"Club Ipanema" , takes a nylon string figure, flips it around a bit, and ends up with a kind of Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass thing. Jenny sings some more coolness. And the bari sax throws some more smoke into the mix. I'm proud of this one - it might do well in the lounge music scene if it ever got distribution - ah well, at least it was fun making it!

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