Sunday, December 12, 2010


In working on my next Christmas jazz piano tune,  I'm running in to all sorts of problems.  The song is in a couple of sharp keys that I never play, so getting chords and improv to work half-way decently is not happening quickly.  The song is fast and very unforgiving as Ed would say.  There are a couple of "avoid" notes where if you play them as anything but the fastest of passing tones the whole song is a train wreck.  My fingers are drawn to these avoid notes like a moth to a flame.  Sigh.  It will take a while...

To kind of cleanse my mental palate, I decided to pull out the the old jazz guitar and play something that is much more forgiving.  Here I'm playing a version of Misty by Errol Garner.  This is a lot of fun to play.  I'm playing this with an organ trio lead by Mike Ledonne on the Hammond B3.  Jack Stafford is featured on tenor sax.   I arranged this to be a double-time version, in the style of Richard "Groove" Holmes. 

I'm playing a D'Angelico jazz guitar that I haven't taken out of the case in a long...... time.  I really like the way this guitar sounds with an organ trio.   When I say that this song is much more forgiving, I mean that you could essentially be banging garbage cans together to this groove set down by Mike Ledonne and it would be worth listening to!

Here is a little background info on the musicians:

LeDonne, Mike - On Fire CD Cover Art

Child prodigy Mike LeDonne was already a seasoned musician when he arrived in New York upon his graduation from the New England Conservatory. Over the next ten years, he travelled back and forth to Europe, spent two years as the house pianist at Jimmy Ryan′s, toured for two years with the Benny Goodman sextet, and played with many of the biggest names in Jazz including Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans, Roy Eldridge, Papa Jo Jones, Vic Dickenson, Buddy Tate, Al Grey, Ruby Braff, the Art Farmer-Clifford Jordan Quintet, Grady Tate, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Charles McPherson, Sonny Rollins, Ernestine Anderson, Annie Ross, Etta Jones, and Benny Golson.

Jazz musician Jack Stafford has long been a fixture of the Vancouver music scene on alto saxophone, flute, and clarinet – and soprano, tenor, and baritone saxes as the occasion demands. He is a versatile player who can cover multiple styles including Dixieland, Swing, Bop, and West Coast ⁄ Cool. As a first-call player, Jack has played in every setting from clubs to concert halls with studio and recording work for major broadcast networks and record labels.
Jack has played for a who′s who of international music and entertainment greats, and regularly with his own band and top local groups like the all-star Jazz ensemble Pacific Salt, the Ian McDougall Big Band, the Jill Townsend Big Band, Dal Richards and Friends, Donnie Clark Quintet, SwingStreet, and even the nostalgic dance band led by Canada′s late "King of Swing," Mart Kenney and The New Ballroom Orchestra.
Jack Stafford plays great Tenor Sax solos in a mainstream Jazz style, not unlike Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, or Sonny Rollins. This laid-back, spacey style is typical of the 50s and 60s. He is also known as a fan and interpreter of Cannonball Adderley.

A picture of my guitar from the D'Angelico web site
The great Richard Groove Holmes


  1. Ken,

    This is terrific!
    You has convinced me that there is an organ, guitar and drums trio in your living room.
    Well done!!!!
    See you soon,
    Keep up the great work,

  2. Thanks Ed. Band-in-a-box has got to be one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century.