Author Archive

Nov
17

A Monday of Music, More on Paul Smith

Today I worked on pieces for two different listings. At my house in Lomita, soul suckingly situated between a sheet metal shop and a Korean Barbershop, I worked on a Dancehall/reggaeton track. That may seem unusual for those who know me, but the ugly reality is that I probably have more experience tracking that kind of stuff than anything else because of all the hours I’ve logged in Mark Mohr’s studio doing Christafari cuts. I’ve been on every Christafari/Avionblackman/’Imisi/Solomon Jabby album since 2003, playing and creating reggae and dancehall. So now I got a crack at one all my own: a simple instrumental track between 1 and 3 minutes in length.

Then I took a trip over to my mom’s where my piano resides, and continued to pound out light new agey solo piano stuff for a listing that’s asking for ‘inspirational instrumentals’. I started writing some of this on Friday, then continued last night after church, and actually kind of came up with one while playing AT church last night during a time when I was playing background stuff.

These two worlds are obviously very different, and that makes it fun. Whenenver I’m over the inspirational piano stuff, I can go dig in to a bunch of heavy dancehall stuff and vice versa.

Then later on today I headed down to Huntington Beach for Tom Kubis’s big band. I asked him about Paul Smith and he knows him well, and worked with him for years in Steve Allen’s band. He had lots of amazing stories which I may recount later.

He also gave me a compliment on a fill I did before Benny came in with a sax solo. Freaking sweet!!!!

Nov
14

Paul Smith’s House

This Fall my employer Sandra Clay (owner of A-muse music) told Eitan and I that Paul Smith was playing a concert in November at his home and asked us if she’d like her to buy tickets for us all. Two months later I found myself seated in a room he clearly used for performance and practice, with probably 80 chairs setup facing two pianos on a makeshift bandstand. The crowd was mostly Palos Verdes silver tops, and at 28, I was the second youngest person in the house. Annette Smith announced the band, and brought them up one by one: Alex Smith, Paul’s grandson and a classmate of mine from High School on drums; the bass player who was older and who’s name escapes me, and finally Paul Smith, about 6’4″, who lumbered up to the smaller of the two pianos with a bandage on his head and pretty much instantly began the first tune.

Paul Smith at his home, November 13 2009

I immediately noticed that he didn’t dominate the instrument like he once did from a purely technical side, but all his musical instincts and abilities were still there. This was Ella Fitzgerald’s piano player for about 25 years. Reading more about him afterward, I found out that he was born in 1922, which makes him 87! In light of that, this man performed incredibly. He had a feathery touch wherever he wanted to. He played epic intros on lots of the songs, including 2 choruses of ‘Over the Rainbow’ brilliantly reharmonized, and he accompanied his daughter on a couple songs and he shined in what he chose to play behind her. Accompanying is after all how he put food on his table.

So it was a good night of music, despite the fact that his guest artists detracted from the main performance. Alex introduced me to him afterward, and I got to shake that huge mitt of his. Check out this video of him accompanying Ella. Go straight to minute 2:40 to hear him unload. 87 years young! And I was in his house drinking his punch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwEsq31wKcI&feature=PlayList&p=DFD38856EB7D13DA&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=5]

Nov
13

Speaking of Marty’s Chord…




Marty’s Big Band ii V

Originally uploaded by Bobbycressey

Here it is. Cm7/B. Lush post modern sound for a dominant voicing.

Nov
12

Here’s the rough Demo I threw together yesterday morning before work. I emailed this out to Paul and Anna so they’d have something to chew on before coming in last night.

The session went smoothly once we got started. I edited it a little bit this morning, but I have to run off to play some music for a big time company luncheon down in Westwood.

Paul and I were both stoked.
Paul and Bobby Recording Nov 11 2009

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