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acknowledgements:

THANKS MERCI BEAUCOUP GRACIAS TOUSEN TAK DANKE GRAZIE

Special thanks to all the musician brother/friends who worked with me on this project. Please see the biography page for more details.

bass: Ira Coleman, Ed Friedland, Peter Herbert, Mike Stanzilas
piano: Alain Mallet, Teese Gohl, Renato Chicco
drums and percussion: Ben Wittman (all tracks)
guitar: Bill Brinkley

I wanted to put together a project that represented songs I'd recorded that had never been released in a CD format along with several new arrangements. It was good to see that there were more songs than I could fit so I tried to pick a good sampling. There are still some classic arrangements of songs like Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, Carol King's Giant Step, Van Morrison's Crazy Love, Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine, Jobim's Dindi, and Rodgers and Hart's My Romance that did not make it onto this CD. I look forward to re-working these arrangements for future recordings.

Several of the older recordings on this CD were stored on analog tape. Since this format is now archaic I had a difficult time even finding a studio with reel to reel decks for playback. Don Foote referred me to Alvan Long who referred me to another studio owner who was kind enough to lead me to mWorks, a mastering studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The engineers and studio managers were extremely knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. A few of my 7 1/2 ips and 15 ips master tapes had a high pitched squeal when played back. Engineer Matt Azevedo knew the sound was caused by the magnetic oxide layer and the backing acetate layer slipping away from each other. As it turned out, whale oil had been used to hold recording tape together, but once it was banned, a suitable substitute had to be found. The early to mid 1980s were a tough time for tape manufacturers as they all scrambled to find a replacement medium. Matt reassured me that all was not lost. All he had to do was BAKE the tapes in a pizza oven (convection) for about 6 hours. This heat treatment would fuse the layers back together for a short time so we could then play them back, transfer the signal, and digitize the tracks. This seemed like way too much hocus pocus to believe, but what else could I do? We scheduled studio time for post-baking and sure enough, the tapes played back sans squeal. Digitizing went forward without a hitch. Jack Trifiro transferred some DAT masters to CDrom since DAT tapes deteriorate as well. Bob Patton from Thin Ice Productions in North Andover did some prep work, too. Brad Hatfield also assisted with some initial digitizing in his studio at Brad Hatfield Productions. Gaye Hatfield Tolan helped listen to pick and critique what tracks to use. She suggested doing some percussion overdubs on Where is Love which sounded beautiful in Ben Wittman's capable hands.

Ben recommended using Manfred Knoop's studio in River Edge, New Jersey for the new recording last October. He has done quite a bit of recording there, both as engineer and musician. The studio has a beautiful Hamburg Steinway grand, ample parking, and the day rate was reasonable. Lots of jazz musicians have recorded there including Cedar Walton, the New York Voices, Dianne Reeves, Cyro Baptiste, Lenny White, and Ole Mathiesen.

Teese Gohl, Alain Mallet, Ira Coleman and Ben all drove in from various points in New York and we spent most of the day recording 7 songs. They were all fascinated with whatever the latest digital studio gear, almost like it's some highly sophisticated but also totally alluring video game for adults. Recording consoles resemble the cockpit of a space ship—lots of sliders, buttons, and lights. Since all the musicians are seasoned producers and arrangers themselves their expertise was a welcome addition to the session. Their expert ears while listening to playback takes helped pick which one had the best overall performance. Music being the collaborative medium it is guarantees each song's enhancement by each individual musician's artistry and creativity. Ben and I mixed the tracks at his studio Seventh Avenue Productions in Brooklyn. We also adjusted levels and settled on a line-up that would work well together since there were sonic differences between the older and newer recordings.

Without the many influences of teachers, musicians, seers, technicians, family, and fans over the years I most certainly would not be who I am today. Here's to more learning, more giving, more music.

 

 

 

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