I’ll write about my creative process – how a riff or chord progression can develop into a song and how I’ll arrange the music. I’ll write about the the recording and mixing sessions and all the related work that is needed before it’s ready for release.
Here’s the story about how I was writing music without being aware of it – unfortunately I think it happens often for a lot of people who writes music. As a little “bonus” you can read why the title “Funky Mama” is appropriate for this specific song I’ll use for this story. It’s always tricky to find titles for instrumental tunes 🙂
Writing music – writing Funky Mama
I was visiting my parents, staying at their house for the weekend. As I’ve written earlier I always bring my guitar for holidays. When I arrived we had some nice food, some good wine and talked a lot. The day after we all sat in the living room, doing whatever we liked to relax. Mom was reading a book in her favorite chair, dad was looking thru some art books. I was just jamming around on my guitar.
After a while I decided to make some coffee. Dad was still reading and mom was doing their laundries. While I was in the kitchen I heard her whistle a catchy phrase. I thought I knew it from somewhere but couldn’t decide from where. After a while it started to annoy me that I couldn’t name or categorise her tune. I went to her and asked – “what’s that you’re whistling … it sounds familiar?”. My mom laughed and told me that it was what I have been playing in the living room a little earlier.
Back in the living room I picked up my guitar. Within seconds I realised that she was right – it was the “theme” I’ve been jamming around for some time. I decided to record a memo in my phone. Good decision. Just a few weeks later the tune was added to my bands setlist.
Writing music without being aware of it
I had been writing music and composed a complete song without being aware of it. It would have been forgotten, if my mom hadn’t started to whistle the theme. After this experience I record almost everything I jam over for more than a few minuttes. Therefore I’ll suggest that you also remember to record whatever you’re jamming around with. You’ll never know when something interesting is showing up.
And a little fun fact: neither my mom or I was aware of the odd meter within the song. There’s a 5/4 bar in the middle of the A-part. I realised that when I introduced the tune to the band, and the drummer had to hear it twice to figure out what was going on 🙂
Later on I have even recorded the song on my second album. I also ended up jamming the tune on the American TV-show Studio Jams – you can see that part from the episode here. All this just because my mama caught the riff and started to whistle while she walking around fixing some things.
From time to time, I have had the pleasure of playing with Michito Sanchez in different constellations with David Garfield. No matter what repertoire we played, no matter what style, Michito has always lifted the music to another level.
Powerfull percussion by Michito Sanchez on the Gratitude album
Michito is unique – always coming up with tons of great ideas in the studio and always meeting you with a big smile and very positive attitude.
I was so lucky to have Michito playing on my second album “Miss you” – actually that was the very first time I worked with him in the studio. Since then I’ve use Michito on soundtracks for TV or commercials. He has a killer pocket and he always has tons of percussion lined up. You are sure to get, not only a tight and groovy shaker, but also the exact type of shaker you need for the specific track. Michito has added so much gold to my music, no matter what style and what weird wishes I had for parts.
Beside his “basic” tracks – for instance congas, shaker or tambourine, I always get him to record a “toy track”. Continue reading “Powerfull percussion by Michito Sanchez”
It’s more than 10 years ago since I played with David Garfield for the first time – and I still remember clearly how it felt like “home” when he started playing the intro to the very first tune we played together.
This is the story about how I met David Garfield and Henrik Enqvist
Garfield and I were hired by the Danish drummer Henrik Engqvist for a tour playing a mix of Engqvist’s repetoire and Garfield’s songs. I hadn’t met neither Henrik nor David before and I felt very honored to be asked to play this tour since Henrik had used Robben Ford and Frank Gambale for earlier tours with his band. And to play with David Garfield, who had the bands Los Lobotomys, Karizma and worked as M.D. for George Benson and Natalie Cole, would be awesome. Henrik knew Garfield from L.A. where they had met a couple of years earlier. Henrik often is in L.A. to work with a lot of A-listers over there.
The first time we all met was around noon to rehearse for the first show the same night. Henrik had just picked David up at the airport. David handled out his music sheets, sat down at the piano and started to play the song “Donna”. I instantly felt like I’ve known David and that song for years. The way David voiced the chords and his groove made me feel so good – I felt like returning back home after a long trip abroad.
That tour ended up being very important to me – I got so inspired from the shows we did. I had so much fun since I was allowed to stretch out during a lot of long solos, and we never played a song the same way twice. David really knows how to inspire.
During the final concert we played on that tour, I felt so sad about “this was it”. I knew I had to do something about it. So it was actually that night I decided to make an album with my own music. That let me to do the “Funky Flavas” album – and after that the “Miss You” and “Gratitude” album.
Since we met for the first time I have had the pleasure to play with Henrik again several times. We did an episode of “Studiojams” together in Copenhagen some years ago and I’ve also played together with Henrik and Jimmy Haslip, Jeff Richman and Russell Ferrante, when they have been in Scandinavia – always a pleasure and great fun! And I’ve played with Garfield in many different constellations both live and in the studio – always fantastic and very very inspiring.
So – thank you Henrik for asking me back then, I’m very thankful for that!! Henrik has recently released a new album “Engqvisition”- check it out here! And thank you David for your friendship and for always being so inspiring – it’s a blast knowing you and playing with you.
I have written about Gary Novak and Jimmy Haslip and how they contributed to the Gratitude album. Today I’ll introduce you to the very talented keyboard player Kim S. Hansen – I’m feel very privileged to have him playing on my album.
Killer keyboard parts by Kim S. Hansen on the Gratitude album
Kim is actually Danish-born but has lived in L.A. since the nineties. He is Musical Director for Patti Austin and has played with Phil Perry, Paul Jackson jr. and many more. (While we did the recordings for the Gratitude album), Kim had to take some weeks off from my sessions to go to South Africa and tour with guitar ace Earl Klugh … cool).
Back in the nineties Kim and I played together every once I a while, and we did a lot of the same types of gigs and sessions: Playing in different house bands and so on. After many years in that line of work, we both wanted to do something different. Continue reading “Killer keyboard parts by Kim S. Hansen”
Like I mentioned the other day – I have written about my workflow and how I arrange a song. Today, we’ll stay on the track of the real deal – recording drums. I’ll introduce you to world class drummer Gary Novak – the nicest hang with a killer pocket.
Groovy drums by Gary Novak on the Gratitude album
I feel extremely blessed because I’ve had the pleasure to play with some of the best drummers in the world: Steve Ferrone, Gregg Bissonette, Chad Wackerman, the late Ricky Lawson and more – yes I’m spoiled – and I’m so happy and proud to be able to add Gary Novak to that list!
Earlier I’ve written about my workflow when developing an idea into a tune or how I work when I’m arranging a song by making demos. This is about recording bass and about the recording session with the awesome Jimmy Haslip for my Gratitude album.
I have had the pleasure to work with many outstanding bass players – Will Lee, John Peña and Mark King, all unique players. Here I’ll tell you about some of my work with Jimmy Haslip – a living legend.
Yesterday my third album – Gratitude – was released. I’m happy, excited, proud, nervous. I have tons of feelings and thoughts running thru me and I can’t sit still for more than a few minutes, before I have to do something to distract my thoughts – I guess you can imagine how it is.
I’ve been working on this album for several years on and off. Actually did I write some of the tracks many years ago, while some of the tunes are totally new, also to me … at least kind of new, after working with them for some time.
When I make an album a lot of things go around in circles.
The other day a student from Berklee College of Music asked me if I could give him an advice. Not just any advice – but my best advice to a young guitar player, who wanted to “live my life” and play the type of jobs I’ve done.
That was a tough one. There’s so many things I can think of depending on what you’re focusing at – I mean should it be concerning networking, education, playing gigs, recording sessions, getting the right guitar or practicing … well “practicing” – that’s a god place to start. So here it is … at least one of them 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my first appearance on the TV-show “Studio Jams”, episode #34. Today I’ll write about my second Studio Jams experience – episode #47.
As I wrote in my first post about Studio Jams I was very happy to be invited to participate – and being invited back was an even bigger pleasure. So when Producer Tom Emmi asked me if I wanted to do a Swedish show, I agreed instantly.
The musicians for Studio Jams #47
Tom told me that he would bring violin virtuoso Tracy Silverman, but wanted me to find the rest of the musicians. I hadn’t been living in Sweden for that long, so my network of Swedish musicians wasn’t that big. But I had connected to a Swedish drummer, Pontus Engborg on Myspace and Facebook. Pontus and I have a lot of friends in common from the L.A. scene.
The other day I shared a link on my Facebook profile to a track I did for the american tv-show “Studio Jams”. I’ve played in two full episodes of Studio Jams. This is the story about the first international version of the show I did – recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Several years ago I was contacted by TV-producer Tom Emmi – he was planning a trip to Europe and Scandinavia. Tom had heard about me through keyboard player David Garfield, and Tom wanted to invite me to participate in the first international version of the program Studio Jams.
He described the formular. I saw some samples from earlier Studio Jams and I was totally blown away – it’s some really great shows Tom is doing. Basically it’s a documentary about how musicians work and comunicate when they meet and jam without anything planed in advance. The episodes are shot in a recording studio, so you get the original sound from the instruments thru samples from the rehearsals, but also the recorded and mixed version of the final take of the jammed tune.