Previous Tracks 2021
April 2021 “A Felicidade” ~ Jack Chan
This month’s track is “A Felicidade”, by Antônio Carlos Jobim, with Jack Chan playing an arrangement by Roland Dyens. A bit over 20 years ago Kai and Jade Chan came to my shop with their 7 year old son Jack to properly set up a fractional sized nylon string guitar they had purchased for his study with my friend Michael Goldberg. It seemed not very long after that, when Ann Maria and I were enjoying a great Sunday brunch at Kai and Jade’s restaurant, a still diminutive Jack unobtrusively walked into the dining room, sat down, and began to assuredly and beautifully play that little guitar. Over the years as he grew musically under Michael’s tutelage, I was able to supply him with a full size Spanish guitar, and, eventually, an older guitar of mine that I made in 1978 when I was 29 years old. This recording was done at a house concert, a high school graduation project. I love his spirited performance, a melding of technical and dynamic facility with youthful exuberance. Jack decided to study economics at the University of Chicago as a basis for his career, keeping music his personal pleasure. He is now within a year or so of being as old as I was when I built his guitar. As I age, I tend to savor remembering the people I’ve met over what I may or may not have accomplished. Knowing Jack and his family, and seeing him place growing talent and love of music in personal perspective, has been truly gratifying.
February/March 2021 Someone to Watch Over Me
March's track was “Someone to Watch Over Me”, with Anthony Weller and Michael Rossi on classical guitar and tenor sax. Written for the musical “Oh, Kay” in 1926 by George and Ira Gershwin (title by Howard Dietz) as an up-tempo swing tune, it was subsequently recorded by singers starting in the 30’s as the slower ballad with which we’re more familiar today.
As much as I strive to make a nuanced, projecting solo instrument, it’s equally important for it to be a supportive ensemble presence. I’m grateful that this progeny of mine from 1979, in the hands of my dear friend Anthony, performing with his dear friend Mike, seems to “play well with others”.
I recently asked my daughter, Felicia, what single composer or performer she would take if marooned on an island. She said “Well, it would have to be someone with a lot of different moods, you’d have to pretty much like all of their stuff, and you’d definitely need some lyrics”.
In my case, while my head would push for the majestic glory of Bach, my heart would insist on the Gershwins.
Learn more about Anthony’s work as musician and author here: anthonyweller.com
Mike Rossi’s music can be explored here: mikerossijazz.com
The cd containing this track, along with a cornucopia of other fine work, can be secured at either site.
January 2021 Un Dia de Noviembre
This month’s track is Leo Brouwer’s “Un Dia de Noviembre”, played by Drew Burgess. An impromptu recording made during a morning practice session, it includes a surprise visit by Archibald, a usually shy neighborhood cat. While I suspect opinions expressed by family, friends, and partisan clients are often modulated by affection for or general admiration of my work, the responses of animals are visceral, unfiltered, and unfailingly authentic.
When a client once told me, “Ever since I got your guitar, my dog doesn’t get up and leave the room when I start to play anymore”, I considered it one of the crowning achievements of my career. To see Drew’s tender rendition lure and retain the attention of a prowling feline, on a beautiful day with its myriad distractions, is beyond my wildest dreams.
In an era when artists are often dismayed to see their heartfelt music overshadowed by even the most mundane cat videos garnering millions of page views, I hope this gentle synthesis can bridge that gap.
Drew is also a fine artist and inspiring teacher. Learn about his work here: drewburgess.art/about
I was also moved by his recent pairing of one of his own guitar compositions with sensitive editing of some of his family’s home movies from the fifties: drewburgess.art/music
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