Blog

Category

Currently showing posts tagged carli munoz

  • Liner Notes: Carli Muñoz In My Soul

    A brief personal passage of time by Carli Muñoz -Artist/ Producer

    They say that if you can remember the 60s you weren there -and I must confess that I don't remember most of it.... I was there! The latter part of the 1960s had been for me among other things, a time of uncertainty and confusion. But in retrospect, I believe it all culminated in a world of new possibilities and soul transformation that shaped the way of things to come. I often thought of it as a decade of "maybes," which in my view had pretty much crushed the illusion of certainty that had been embedded in our society from previous generations. On the other hand, some people may see the 60s as self-indulgent or as a breeding ground for moral relativism. But in all as I perceive it, having challenged the status quo resulted in character growth, spiritual depth and a major leap in creative thinking, even with its risks and losses -we did what we did and we are here now— for the better, Maybe....

    All this transformation, as a result of the 60s social and spiritual revolution, gave way to the possibility that maybe It's not too late, that change is possible and more than that, necessary. Ominous events that were present at the time, such as the Vietnam War and the possibility of pushing "the big red button" at the peak of the cold war certainly gave humanity a wake-up call -it was time to meet again, regroup and focus on peace or at least on the necessity, if not urgency of surviving as humans. Events like this made way to a critical mass which lead us inward, stirring up big questions that we had been afraid to ask ourselves before, such as "Who am I?" "What am I here for?" These questions for many of us actually became an all too familiar "voice," an inner voice that became our Constant companion....

    But of course back at the ranch it still remained to be seen if along with this unprecedented social and spiritual transformation, the political climate was to evolve. What did remain a constant was the cry of the American people: Wake up America! The American dream bubble had burst -it was time for a new slate, for a fresh canvas to paint a new and brighter future and create new dreams. And new dreams came in different shapes and forms and sizes. Once, I dreamt that I was a rock’n roll star Under the moonlight!

    Rock'n roll and moonlight happened to mix well for me because I was a child growing up during the early rock era and at the same time was a hopeless romantic dreaming of dancing with the girl of my dreams to Guy Lombardo under the moonlight! But dreams wither, new seeds are planted and human emotions remain as fragile as they were in the beginning of time. There isn't a more gut-wrenching experience and simultaneously a greater lesson than one of love going From red to blue, I'm telling you from my own experience! It is a space where no in between can exist; so adieu, if taken with resignation and self-introspect -it can lead to the mastery of our own emotions, but not without the pain... whether we are aware or not, we are surrounded by pain. I often find myself focusing a little too much on self-preservation without looking sideways or much further. At this time, there are nearly 650,000 homeless people in America and 100 million worldwide. The trail of misery and grief goes on and on, along with hunger, disease, war and every imaginable and unimaginable perpetration among us humans.

    How easy it is to forget that we live in a world of crumbling stones! And at that inexorable moment in time when we gasp for our last breath of air -how ephemeral, a life of merely gathered possessions! The Egyptian Pharaohs believed they had access to their possessions in the afterlife. Shouldn't we have cleared that issue long ago? And yet, how sweet is the smell of home -however humble -when our loved ones are there to greet us! But how stale and lonely, however sumptuous, when No one is there.

    So shit happens, as we say, but never out of the blue... we reap what we sow, call it Karma, but what remains true is that at some point in our lives we find ourselves All alone. So we hit bottom... how I long to rescue my sense of joy! How low can I go before I become The dean of elation? Maybe I'll become a lunatic for a while... and indulge myself in some Lunaressence? Will I then be in my sanctum? Could that be the way it's all written In my soul?


    Old Friends Making New Music

    by Fred Vail, Co-producer, Treasure Isle Recorders "Music City, USA," -- Nashville, TN

    Carli's and my friendship goes back 42 years. At the time, he was just beginning his 15 year association with The Beach Boys, as a percussionist and keyboardist, and I was their Touring and Marketing Manager. Our mutual friend, the late Dennis Wilson, brought Carli and I together.

    I can still remember Denny's excitement as we drove out to Pasadena to meet Carli at his home. And forty-two years later, I am absolutely certain that DW, and his younger brother Carl, are looking down at Carli and I with a warm smile on their face and enormous pride for a job well done.

    You see, this album is a genuine labor of love. We put nearly two years of our lives into this great music. We were fortunate that a number of our friends gave unselfishly of their time and talents to help make this exceptional album.

    When I left the Beach Boys in 1971, I moved to the South and became a marketing executive for Capitol Records, the same label that had been home to The Beach Boys for so many of their hit albums and singles. In 1973, I accepted a similar position with RCA Records and a short time later, in the spring of 1974, at the urging of Waylon Jennings, I moved to Nashville. I consulted for a number of artists, including The Captain and Tennille, and George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic), along with RSO, GRT, and Chess-Janus Records. I also kept up my personal friendship with Denny, Carli and 'the boys.' In fact, this year, 2012, I have been a close friend and associate of The Beach Boys for 49 of their 50 years.

    I always visited the group on the road whenever time permitted and, of course, Carli and I would have long talks about his music and the 'solo' project that Denny was contemplating. Denny's musical dream became a reality with the 1977 release of his critically acclaimed album. Carli, along with Daryl Dragon ("The Captain"), Gregg Jakobson, and engineer Tom Murphy, played a significant role in the album. DW had finally stepped out from the shadow of his older brother Brian, and the result was met with enormous praise from fans and media alike.

    I was well entrenched in Nashville at the time of POB's recording and on a trip to the West Coast in late winter of 1977, I visited Denny in his rented beach house in Venice. Seeing his excitement as he played me selections from the album on his piano--and listening to a few of the taped tracks that were near completion -I, like so many others, could hardly wait for its release.

    While POB did not initially achieve the sales success we had all hoped for, it has become somewhat of a cult classic -and, more than that, it gave DW the incentive to begin work on a subsequent album, Bambu, which was finally completed posthumously in time to be included in a specialtwo-CD set on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the first release of Pacific Ocean Blue.

    Carli was a major part of Bambu, as a co-producer, composer and musician. From the beginning, as we started to formulate the production of In My Soul, we knew that four of Bambu's tracks would become the corner stone of this album: It's Not Too Late, Under The Moonlight, All Alone, and Constant Companion.

    For the past thirty-two years, as owner-operator of Treasure Isle Recorders, the Nashville studio I co-founded in 1980 and still manage today, I've been truly blessed to have worked with some of the most gifted and successful artists of the 20th Century. The Beach Boys, James Taylor, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, BB King, Isaac Hayes, Sheryl Crow, Rodney Crowell, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Sting, and John Denver, among others, have all experienced the unique "sound" of our studio. More recently, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins, Miranda Lambert and Montgomery Gentry have recorded with us.

    But I could not be more proud of my friendship with Carli and the love and passion we put into this album. We hope you enjoy our efforts as much as we enjoyed working together on In My Soul.


    By J. A. Crowther, Radio host United Kingdom

    So who is Carli Munoz and why has it taken him over 40 years to record his first rock album? Well dear listener, that is like asking what is a sunrise and why does it take 24 hours to return? The truth is that Carli is a musical force of nature and Art takes as long as it takes to gestate.

    OK, so a bit of history maybe needed here. Carli along with future Beach Boys lyricist/manager Jack Rieley headed out West in late 1969 with a few compositions and nothing more than traditional Yankee pioneer spirit in search of the Promised Land, (although in truth Carli had cut his musical chops playing jazz since 1963, and then fronting The Living End also known at times as Space, the first, maybe the only but certaily the best psychedelic band to emanate from Puerto Rico.)

    Once in California and due to co-incidental events of epic proportions whilst on Beach Boys turf, both Jack and Carli found themselves as part of the Beach Boys Family, where Carli would remain until 1981. Towards the end of his tenure, he was trying to coax Dennis into finishing his follow up to Pacific Ocean Blue, an album of Carli compositions known as variously as the Bamboo/ Bambu/Caribu Sessions, but until unearthed recently in conversation designed to be known as The End of the Line. The compositions remained hidden for years till All Alone appeared on the Beach Boys Endless Harmony soundtrack released in 1998. Then on June 17th 2008, after decades during which Carli had released a series of critically well received jazz albums and some 30 years after their original proposed release date, Sony/Epic/Caribu released POB/Bambu as part of their Legacy series.

    Again only a fraction of the songs that Carli had intended to be part of the project appeared on the double disc; it seemed that would be the last anyone would hear of the project, until Carli announced in Feb 2012 on a British radio station that he intended to make his first solo rock album using the songs intended for Bambu in addition to more current compositions.

    To huge applause from the listening audience Carli announced the rising of a new album in the horizon. It is not a Beach Boys Album, it's not even a traditional Carli Muñoz Album, it is in truth the blossoming of a rose whose seeds were planted in the previous Millennium, the music spans presidencies, generations, styles and form, It's the first public bow of Carli Munoz, it's a personal work and therefore it's a work of Art... who is Carli Muñoz and why has it taken him over 40 years to record his first rock album? In truth your ears will tell you all you need to know.

  • Liner Notes: Carli Munoz / Eddie Gomez Both Sides Now

    Both Sides Now (Released in 2003)

    Carli Muñoz on piano Eddie Gomez on bass Guest musicians:
    Joe Chambers on drums Jeremy Steig on flute

    carli muñoz / eddie gomez BOTH SIDES NOW

    1- THREE LITTLE STEPS TO HEAVEN (3:59) CARLI MUÑOZ / CARLI MUÑOZ MUSIC (BMI)

    2- AS LONG AS SHE NEEDS ME (7:40) L . Bart / HOLLIS MUSIC INC. (BMI)

    3- BOTH SIDES NOW (7:30)
    JONI MITCHELL / SONY /ATV TUNES (LOC)

    4- BE MY LOVE (6:57)
    N. BRODZSKY , S. CAHN / EMI MILLER CATALOG (BMI)

    5- REMEMBER BILL (7:54)
    CARLI MUÑOZ / CARLI MUÑOZ MUSIC (BMI)

    6- BESAME MUCHO (6:19)
    CONSUELO VELASQUEZ / PEER INTERNATIONAL CORP. (BMI)

    7- SURFER GIRL (5:38)
    CARLI MUÑOZ / CARLI MUÑOZ MUSIC (BMI)

    8- THE MORNING AFTER (6:12)
    CARLI MUÑOZ / CARLI MUÑOZ MUSIC (BMI)

    9- TE EXTRANO (6:33)
    ARMANDO MANZANERO / BMG SONG INC. (ASCAP)

    I was impressed the first time I met and heard Carli Muñoz. He is an outstanding pianist and composer who also managed to realize the nearly impossible task of having his own jazz club. Located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico , Carli's Café Concierto has an elegant charm that rivals any jazz club in the world. When Carli approached me about recording, I said yes, if I could co-produce his album. Carli and I agreed and now nearly a year later, we have a recording I am proud of. Both Sides Now features Carli's compositions, some of his favorite melodies, and many inspired moments by the duo, trio and quartet. I think you too will be impressed by Carli Muñoz.

    - EDDIE GOMEZ

    THE BLESSINGS

    In the evening of June 8 th 2003, I had the honor of being married to my twin flame Katira. A very small and private ceremony and blessings was performed by the two venerable Tibetan lamas, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khempo Tsewang Rinpoche, as an act of pure love and commitment. During such privileged ceremony and blessings, as it is customary, the Tibetan masters tossed fresh rose petals upon us. Before commencing the ceremony they explained that the rose petals represented an act of divine presence of Bodhisattvas, honoring our sacred union. In order to share this most sublime act with you, I have gathered in a bowl and photographed the original petals while still fresh.

    It is our deepest wish is that many blessings fall upon you as the petals are spinning and may the music surround you with ever-lasting joy and well being.

    -Carli and Katira

    “Our deepest wish is that many blessings fall upon you as the petals are spinning and may the music surround you with ever-lasting joy and well being” -Carli

    Carli Muñoz / piano Eddie Gomez /Bass Guest musicians:
    Joe Chambers / drums on tracks #3,5,6,7,9

    Jeremy Steig / flute on track #5

    Recorded in the Spring of 2003 at Clinton Recording Studios, NYC
    & at The Studio, NYC.
    Engineer at Clinton : Troy Halderson Assistant Engineers:

    Erich Trushein, Keith Shortreed Engineer at The Studio: Katherine Miller Mixing Engineer: Troy Halderson, Clinton Recording Studios.

    Art Direction & Design: Garrick Gott Eddie photographed by Esther Cidoncha. Carli photographed by Marcano.
    All other photography by Carli Muñoz.

    Produced by Eddie Gomez for Pelosenel Q Lo Records. Executive producer: Carli Muñoz

    May The Music Be Always With You

    Pelosenel Q Lo Record
    WARNING: UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION OF THIS RECORDING AND ARTWORK IS PROHIBITED BY FEDERAL LAW AND SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
    Co. 2003 Pelosenel Q Lo Records. All rights reserved.

  • Liner Notes: Maverick

    MAVERICK (Release 2005)

    CARLI MUNOZ - EDDIE GOMEZ - JACK DEJOHNETTE

    & featuring :

    Don Byron on clarinet David Sanchez on tenor sax

    The social dynamics in this CD are filled with great interplay -ensemble symbiosis that can only come from an unflinching group respect for each soloist. - Van Dyke Parks

    This musical work is the fourth of its kind conceived in the tradition of an honest and non pretentious outpour of love and passion for the expression of jazz music, away from the hustle and tussle of popular music, hence going back to my roots. It is also a dedication and acknowledgement to some of the Mavericks in my lifetime and beyond, including the exceptional players who accompanied me on this project, for they are Mavericks, as musicians, and in their humanity. Producer /engineer Brandon Mason's sharp shooting diligence on getting a great sound was also Maverick . The recordings here were made with as few takes as possible, and as in the case of "A Cool Night in the City", choosing the first "take" as I was running the tune for the first time at the recording studio for Jack and Eddie to familiarize with, therefore taping into the raw and spontaneous energy of these colossal players. Also there were no rehearsals or strategic pow wows prior to the sessions.

    Somewhere beyond the cortex is a small voice whose mere whisper can silence an army of arguments. It stands alone in final judgment as to whether we have demanded enough of ourselves and, by that example, have inspired the best around us. -The New York Times

    There hasn't been a war in history that has accomplished more towards the eradication of social ills as the work of a single man or woman with a compassionate heart and the necessary determination and in most cases, by the use of peaceful means. These men and women are Mavericks , for they stepped out of their comfort zone and by their courage and independence of thought and action, they have made the greatest difference in our humanity. If we take a look at the current events going on in the world we will certainly come across plenty of the same stuff that have plagued our society since the beginning of time. The big difference now being that the possibility of self annihilation is far more looming and ominous than before. I find it amazing that while we are supposed to be on an evolutionary trend, we seem to keep falling into the inanities of the past. I would add that we have actually re-engaged ourselves in the iniquitous march of the folly. This is the result of the predominant state of fear and ignorance that still prevails in our minds, in our society, and in our country. It seems that we've made progress towards human rights, racial reconciliation and tolerance for religion diversity, but the truth is that we still have a long way to go. We must look at our neighbors and even our potential foes beyond the filters of ignorance, selfishness, hate and fear. We must see ourselves as potential beacons with the capacity to make way for a safer world. It is only through the recognition and activation of our noble heart, the striving for the good of all, including tolerance and compassion for those who are "different" from us and through courageous and measured positive action, that we will truly enjoy peace and light the way to our future generations. The things that I loathe the most are greed, oppression, racism, and a general lack of environmental and social consciousness. All of these are rooted in the darkness of fear and ignorance. As human beings we are gifted with a measure of resilience, but the planet we live on has proven to be more vulnerable than we think and human resilience will only go as far as the soil that sustains us. I reverently bow to the Mavericks of the past, the present and the future, for without them, even with our present short comings, the sun wouldn't be shinning as bright as it does today. Some memorable Mavericks that come to mind (to mention a few) are: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Jefferson , Florence Nightingale, Mohandas Gandhi, Waangari Maathai, Sitting Bull, Rosa Parks, Chief Joseph, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Eleanor Roosevelt, Don Luis Muñoz Marin, Ornette Coleman, Jesus of Nazareth and Tenzin Gyatso, his Holiness the Dalai Lama. There are many more Mavericks – of all colors and flavors, and too many to mention here. I humbly dedicate this music to all of them, and especially to my father; a Maverick at heart.

    - Carli Muñoz

    We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the realtragedy is when men are afraid of the light.
    -Plato

    Pelosenel Q Lo Records

  • CARIBBEAN SUNSHINE A psychedelic adventure in the Caribbean waters

    One of the most memorable and transcendental music experiences that I ever had was on a tiny island located just north of St. Thomas , called Jost Van Dyke. This happened during the mid 60’s when we (my alma mater rock group The Living End aka: Space) were creating havoc during a summer in St. Thomas. Towards the end of our sojourn in St. Thomas , some local friends invited us (the group) to go to Jost Van Dyke (we had never heard of it!), as a personal invitation from the “governor”. Of course without hesitation and animated with such adventurous spirit we accepted. Soon enough an old fisherman with his small outboard fishing boat boarded us and took us on the probably around 10 mile stretch from the north end of St. Thomas to Jost Van Dyke. The small vessel didn’t make it to shore due to motor failure just short of about 3/4 mile from the bay. I had a lady friend with me and a matchbox with some 3 or 4 tabs of Owsley Orange Sunshine in my pocket. I didn’t want to wait for another fishing boat to come and tow us (true to the spirit of adventure), So, I took two tabs, gave my friend the other two, and off we went into pristine emerald blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

    Needless to say that by the time we arrived (swimming) to shore, the perception of being there defied any common sense or normality. The island then was inhabited by 40 native of African descend subjects of the British Crown, fishermen on the most part. In addition to the fishermen there was a tax collector and a “governor” by the name of Foxy. As far as structures the only concrete structures were the remains of a small one room jail and the façade of an equally small chapel. The other structures consisted of Foxy’s house, a dearly cozy wooden shack where Foxy kindly lodged my friend and I during an unexpected storm that night, and some other sparse small wood and palm shacks inhabited by the other natives. As it turned out, my friend and I were the only ones who took the dive. A couple of hours after our wet arrival the others arrived at shore towed by other fishermen. That means that some of the other Sunshine had also arrived on land dry and safely. As for myself, I can say that the core of the intensity of being there was to observe how an ordinary day in the life of the Van Dykians would turn into the most dynamic, intense, extremely colorful, and aggressively prosaic but cleverly poetic form of RAW calypso extravaganza - the kind of calypso I never knew existed! It all started with a visitors (our own humble) offering of the only treasure that we possessed (besides our green adolescence) to share; Orange Sunshine, and of course, a little weed for chaser.

    The prelude to the music was a game of dominoes between Foxy and his closest competitors on a makeshift wood and driftwood table under some dry palm leaf which served as a catapult to effects of the Sunshine experience. While the Sunshine was covertly performing its breach on the lock of the ultra senses, the game took on an energy level of its own. It became strangely aggressive with overtones of a struggle for live and death. Amidst the heavy sweat pouring out of the charcoal black skin the Sunshine evoked such levels of adrenaline and tension that the half naked gladiators proceeded to take arms. Fortunately the choice of weapons was musical instruments - most of them homemade. The only classic instrument was a guitar with a few strings missing that Foxy played. Other instruments were a broom stick on a wash tub with a string and a homemade tambo and some other homemade percussion.

    The aggressiveness that had started during the domino game morphed into their form of calypso. As they picked up their instruments with vengeance they started playing what it seemed to be an 8 and possibly 9 bar cadence reminiscent more of jíbaro (mountain) music from Puerto Rico (not textually), than calypso. The intensity though was in the textual improvisation that each combatant engaged on. One would utter verses to the other about “how good I fucked your mamma”, or how “your wife moaned louder with me”, etc, etc. How I wish I had a Sony Walkman Recorder then, although it was the intensity of the moment and the sweeping expressions what added to that singular and priceless event! What troubles me must is not remembering the structure of the music. I remember being highly impressed by it - it wasn’t like any calypso I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately Jost Van Dyke is not the same as it was then over 40 years ago, but Foxy is still there, playing and singing his music, not quite as prosaic as before, but nevertheless profound- I can take you there… come rain or come shine.

  • My Country Side

    One truly memorable musical experience in Southern California was when I gigged for a couple of years playing Country Western Swing and Blue Grass music. It came to me like a sweep from the wind sometime after having left the Beach Boys and venturing out with various musical genres; especially coming from jazz. At the time I was sort of going through a musical vacuum and the idea of stepping into a new musical genre tickled my curiosity. Fortunately I joined the right players from the start and became probably one of the first contemporary journeyman pianist in Southern California to gain notoriety within the Country Swing and Blue Grass circle,  at least that ’s what they said! 

    I can still remember the day when I was sitting on the sidewalk in the front of my house in Hudson Drive Pasadena playing with my three toddlers when Frank Sullivan, my neighbor from across the street, approached me. Frank must have heard me playing or practicing from his house so he already knew that I could probably tackle any musical challenge that he had to offer. He was straight to the point and offered me a gig with a band where he was the pedal still player and musical director—a local country swing band by the name of Van and The Southland Country Band.

    The band was fairly large—it toggled between 7 and 8 pieces and the level of musicianship was excellent. The repertory was authentic and vintage on the most part, which made it interesting and swinging; it was the real deal! The founder and lead vocalist was a former truck driver by the name of Van Ezell. His long hair and full beard along with his overweighed but solid body frame made the perfect constitution for the black leather outlaw cowboy garb he wore….Waylon Jennings would have been proud! The drummer Big Rick, was nearly 250 pounds and had a long thick mustache below his 10 gallon Stetson and all he needed was to wear a sheriff batch on his shirt—he was actually a sheriff!

    That was the sheriff and the outlaw. The rest of us were somewhere in between; sinners and saints. Most everyone was from a different southern state. I was, of course, the southernmost

    The stage where we played at was very large and it didn’t lack any of the pro amenities of a main stream concert stage. Arrays of lights, large sound consoles with engineers, roadies, a master of ceremony and a comfortable backstage area was the norm at the club where we performed as house band for a least a year; it was called The Cowboy. There were at least 3 large bars, a huge dance floor, a mechanical bull and a wide back door from which the nightly brawlers would be vehemently exited by a battery of eager bouncers. On stage I played a Yamaha Electric Grand piano I owned with a pair of bull horns on fur at the end of the tail. The front line from stage left was: band leader Frank Sullivan on pedal steel and banjo; Brantley Kearns on fiddle, mandolin, lead and bg vocals; Marty Gwen on vocals; Van Ezell on lead vocal and rhythm guitar; Mark Smith, Greg Humphrey or Bill Bryson on electric bass and vocals; John David on lead guitar, banjo and harmonica; and I flanked the right on piano. Sheriff Big Rick, guarded the rear. Later on i brought in my friend drummer extraordinare Jim Cruce.

    Something really interesting in country western swing is that as in jazz, all the lead players get to do several rounds of solos in every song which it’s really cool for stretching out. I had to keep up with the speed of the banjo, the fiddle and pedal steel and gel with the blues nature of the harmonica, the guitar and the mandolin- it was really cool! I even became a part of a small bluegrass unit of the same band and that was even more challenging. One of the highlights was to open for Bill Monroe at an outdoors concert.

    Soon enough me and Frank were car pooling the endless and non-eventful hauls from Pasadena to Anaheim and back on the Santa Ana freeway. The ride was specially excruciating whenever I drove by myself, which fortunately wasn’t most of the time. It’s not easy being from the tropics and having to drive 20 miles of concrete with occasional views of track houses that not only looked the same in structure, but their colors blended with the rest of the gray sameness….six night a week!

    So, as much as the ride was at times boring, I had the must fun riding with my new cowboy friends. I remember one time when the band hired a new bass player, Bill Bryson from South Pasadena, who was an old friend of some of the guys in the band and I was to pick him up to ride with me on his first night with the band. After getting somewhat acquainted and just settling into the freeway I (jokingly but serious) said to Bill not to worry that we were a little late (we really weren’t) cause I was a real fast driver (I don’t think that Bill or too many people in Southern California had ever experienced being next a Puertorrican on the wheel dressed full gear as a cowboy!). As I covertly observe the look on his face I went on and said to him that I didn’t really have a license but not to worry because I could outrun the cops. By that time he was so nervous that I had to let him know I was only kidding—we became great friends.

    Frank and I had a lot of fun car pooling too. Sometimes the fiddle player, Brantley Kearns, also car pooled with us and that was just too much fun. Speaking of Brantley Kearns; what a fantastic player and personality! I feel very fortunate to have spent a couple of years of my life with these guys. Unfortunately distance, since I’ve been back in Puerto Rico, has played an awful role on keeping us far apart, but as I write these memoirs I get the urge to contact my old friends and try to arrange a visit to the old west….hmmm, wouldn’t mind gathering the old cowboys for a midnight session….. “What the hell have I got to sit around here for?” As Joe Buck would say!

  • Jimmy Smith, 1928-2005, King of the Hammond B-3 organ

    Some time ago during the mid 70’s I was doing a gig with my jazz fusion group “Your Own Space” at a club in North Hollywood, I think it was Dante’s. The room was delightfully populated by musicians such as Freddy Hubbard, Al Jarreau, the cats from MJQ, from the rock band Chicago and other great musicians. During the first brake I got a note from one of the waitresses saying: “Jimmy Smith wants to see you”. Being as overwhelmed and busy as one can be by getting the best enjoyment out of such company and being engaged on a conversation where both Jarreau and Hubbard were asking me to join their respective touring band, I quickly dismissed the note. I figured that it had come from no one I knew or from a guitar player who used to hang around the band a lot and his name was Jimmy Smith.

    The brake was over and we played another set. As we were leaving the stage the waitress came back with another note: JIMMY SMITH WANTS TO SEE YOU! This time the waitress pointed across the dark room. The first thing I see is a mouthful of teeth floating about 6 feet in the air that looked pretty darn familiar and in an matter of split seconds it brought to me the memories of some of the most transcendental and gravity defying keyboard playing I’ve ever heard! As if on a quantum leap I find myself being grabbed by this towering figure and lifted off the ground - my sense of joy would just be inexplicable. Still holding me he says to me: “Who do you like, man…Herbie or McCoy?” I was a little thrown off by the question because I like them both very much. I answered: “Well…I…a…I like them both, but…Mc Coy…” He says “Ohhhh noooo man…there is a sudden ambiguous pause and he says intensely looking straight at my eyes: Yeahhh…that’s the one… man… that’s the one!!!!

    Once we got thorough that unusual and exhilarating first encounter we just hung out all night talking about music. This man ONLY talked about music; this man IS music. That same evening he invited me to go with him to his supper club in San Fernando Valley. I remember his club as cozy and dark and if there was a bar or tables I will never know because my focus and attention as I walked in went straight to a little stage straight ahead and slightly above the ground that cradled the Hammond organ that has brought so much joy to a whole generation of jazz music. There was probably a set of drums next to the organ but I don’t distinctly remember seeing that either.

    Jimmy took me straight to the back of the stage where he had an old spinet piano facing the back of the stage. He sat and played the piano and there we just carried on for the rest of the evening just having fun and sharing music ideas.

    As if it wasn’t enough to have been touched by Jimmy Smith’s music throughout my formative jazz years, this most special event sealed the man in my soul.

    Long live the king!