Thursday, September 20, 2012
Back in the studio with several new recordings underway, and working with new musician friends as well, including Pat Duffey and Suellen Primost. Here's a clip of our first rehearsal. --CW
SESSION PHOTOS: I met guitarist/producer/writer Barry Cleveland in 1991 during a visit to San Francisco, shortly before moving there the following year. Robert Powell drove me to Barry’s house in the Oakland Hills which was referred to as “The Lodge”. It was a combo live-work-studio-jam-lounge-hotel-party-recovery-sanctuary meeting place for musicians and artists. After relocating from St. Louis, I was invited into this wonderful community of musicians. Barry and I became friends and we began working together. For months after, and I don’t know how I did it, I carted my 80 pound 8-Track TASCAM recorder back and forth across the bay to Barry’s studio where we tracked and mixed my CD, “The Acoustic Shadow”. This is one of my favorite pictures. I took this photo during a rare daytime session as Barry recorded his signature guitar on Light Years Dark Skies. It captures the scene as it was; the studio-living room with gear everywhere and with Barry at the controls and inside the music. The song also features Barbara Else on flute, Dan Reiter on cello and I on “Morricone” guitar. -CW
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
SESSION PHOTOS: In the late 1990s, my friend Michael Manring was kind enough to put in a good word for me at The Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco, and they booked me as the opening act for an Alex de Grassi concert. Alex is among my favorite guitarists, and though we had met before, it was a pleasure getting acquainted with him for the show. Near the end of his set, we played together on a new song, which led to him, several weeks later, recording on the same piece, “Read The River” for my CD escapesilence. (You can download the song here: http://snd.sc/O6k6lr) It was an honor to have Alex in my humble San Francisco apartment studio, though my neighbors unfortunately were less welcoming. It was after 9pm when I snapped this photo of Alex as he was tuning up. Behind the wall next to Alex was my neighbor’s bedroom. The couple apparently kept early hours, and during one take, I heard a rumble. When I pulled off my headphones, the neighbors were banging on the wall, “Turn it down!”. I cleared things up with them, but I felt bad for Alex. Here was a world class musician who performs for thousands of people every year, and yet my neighbors complained that the (god forbid) acoustic guitar was too loud. In any case, Alex was a trooper, and wonderful, and the session went great. “Read The River” includes Michael Manring on bass, Robert Powell on pedal steel, Alex on guitar, with myself on dobro.
SESSION PHOTOS: I met jazz guitarist Fareed Haque through my friend Joe Venegoni in 1990. Joe and I were still living in St. Louis at the time. Our Critical Path CD was in the works, and Joe suggested bringing in Fareed to play on a few songs. I resisted at first as I didn’t know Fareed or how his sound might impact the album. But Joe insisted, and he was absolutely right. Fareed was spot on. The Blue Note Records guitarist turned out to be a recognized modern jazz guitar master and improviser. Fareed came in from Chicago, and upon his arrival to the studio, he immediately dug in and recorded several inspired performances. At one point, setting his trademark nylon acoustic aside, Fareed played my electric guitar on one song, breaking a string in the process, which I hung proudly on my studio wall. While Fareed’s playing was excellent, the most inspiring moment for me was his work on “A Window”, a song I had composed and recorded as a solo guitar piece a few years earlier. Joe and I had agreed to record the song again, with orchestration. Fareed quickly learned the melody and began, like spreading wildfire, to improvise and embellish on the theme. It was startling how quickly he connected with the tune, and for the first time in my life, I heard my music played by someone other than myself. If you’re a composer, it’s like witnessing your child’s college graduation. Fareed infused new energy into the composition and it was affirming to hear my music in such capable hands. I didn’t take any photos at the session, but I did capture Fareed in action a few years later, during a recording session jam in the bay area. The group that day featured Fareed, guitarist Henry Kaiser, bassist Michael Manring (also in the photo), among others.