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Armadillo Swing Band

In April 2017, a sax player I knew invited me to audition on bass for a swing band of about fifteen musicians, including saxophones, trumpets, trombones and the rhythm section. All the songs had written arrangements. Although it had been a long time since I had read music, they invited me to join them. It was a big step for me, I improved a lot as a bass player and entered a world of talented jazz musicians. And I realized the power of written arrangements to quickly learn new music, without a lot of rehearsing.

Michael Brown - Keyboards

I really like Michael’s expressiveness, particularly on the piano.  I’m disappointed when I go hear a band and I feel that the musicians are holding back.  Michael brings a lot of creativity to his playing, especially on the songs that are piano features like « Chita » and « I’m Still Loving You ».

Justin Douglas - King Electric Studio

The band Pearl, in which I play bass,  was looking for a good studio to record a CD. They found King Electric, owned by engineer Justin Douglas. We recorded ten songs there for their CD, “Attitude In Progress”. I was impressed with his knowledge of music and the speed of his work, I would say he is at least twice as fast as average. Also, I liked his “pop” aesthetic, and he speaks French himself. He lived and worked for years in Montreal, after growing up in Indonesia. So this is my favorite studio in Austin.  He is also an excellent pedal steel player, he plays on “The Words He Didn’t Say”.

Ulrich Ellison - Production, Guitar

I first saw Ulrich when he was playing with the singer Patricia Vonne at the Continental Club in Austin. I had written a song and was looking for someone to help me with the recording, I talked to Patricia and she recommended Ulrich. He had a studio in a sort of bungalow near a train track, but it was quickly evident that he was a musical genius.  Originally from Austria, he now lives in Ankara, Turkey, but I continue to work with him and rely on his deep knowledge of music and his talent in production.

Eric Hargett - Saxophone

I first met Eric during an Armadillos performance at Black Sparrow Music Parlor in Taylor. He was subbing on tenor saxophone. I was impressed with his musical technique and his passion.  I later found out he had his own group, a master’s degree in jazz composition and had lived for years in Los Angeles.

Marc Lionetti - Guitar

Very creative jazz guitarist, also great on the classical guitar.  Marc has also done extensive singing, am looking forward to the end of the pandemic to have the opportunity to work with him more !

 

Barry Joe Birch McCreary - Drums

I know him as Joe – he has been on the drums since I started this project.  An amazing reader, he really keeps it together, across any kind of time signature change.  He doesn’t just follow, he leads, it’s like having a conductor !

Much2Much (Erin Thelen and Angie Holliday)

Angie Holliday is a swing dancer, that’s how I got to know her. I learned that she was a singer, along with her partner, Erin Thelen, and that they had a band called Much2Much. At that time, I thought I would mostly write and produce songs, that I would record with different singers. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for. When I heard the clarity and sweetness of their voices, and their perfect intonation, I found their tone to work very well with what I was trying to do musically.

Pearl

I joined Pearl as a bass player and part-time singer, after replying to an ad in the summer of 2017.  They were originally a Janis Joplin tribute band, but as time went on they branched out into other kinds of material, including their own blues-influenced original songs.  It’s fun, and they are a good bunch of people to hang out with !

Trippiesteff

I found Trippiesteff by chance on the web site Fiverr, where you can get various types of artwork done by contract.  He’s based in Berlin.  I find his images amazing, and that they really fit with the songs that I write.

In his own words: “I grew up in the 90s in a small village in southern Germany near the Swiss Border and went from there to Berlin where I studied Illustration. Since then I’m working as a freelancer, travel a lot, play guitar myself. I did motor bike drive from Colombia until Bolivia. My art is influenced by 90s cartoons I watched as a kid, 60s psychedelic art and comic magazines. “

Vesta Creative

I’ve known Ariana and her family since she was a girl. My first clear memories of her are from when she was in high school and working on the restoration of Illick’s Mill in Bethlehem, a project many of my friends also supported.  

From her web site: “For the love of design. Make it visual, make it real. Your brand is the most important aspect of your business … we can create your vision from start to finish.” 

Her husband, Dave Johnsen, is a great bass player, I’ve seen him play many times.  For a long time he was in a Frank Zappa cover band, Project/Object.

Equipment

On bass I keep it simple, an Ibanez SoundGear SR400EQM bass and a Fender Rumble 500 bass amplifier.  I also have a couple of Mark Bass amplifiers.

I don’t vary the tone a lot, mostly I’m trying to master my sound and lock in to the beat. I believe in the words of Jaco Pastorius, “it’s all in the hands.”  

I am not particularly sentimental about old instruments.  For me, it’s like cars. You can see an old car and find it beautiful, and feel the nostalgia. But no one will say that today’s cars aren’t better technically. 

The guitar I use most often for writing is a Cordoba nylon-string, it’s easy on the hands!  I also have a Martin OMCPA5.

For home recording, I use Reaper on a Dell Precision workstation with 16gb RAM, running Windows 10.   I use it to get song ideas down in demos.  To get better quality on the vocals, I got an AKG P220 condensor mike.

I write charts in standard notation for all my songs, I use Musescore 3 for that.

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